Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Droud

Anyone who ever read Larry Niven's The Ringworld Engineers knows that at the beginning of the book Louis Wu, the protagonist from Ringworld, has become a "current addict" or a "wirehead," he has become addicted to the Droud, a device that directs electrical current into his brain, stimulating the pleasure centers. Behold: the Droud!

Scientists are developing an electronic "sex chip" that can be implanted into the brain to stimulate pleasure.

The chip works by sending tiny shocks from implanted electrodes in the brain.

The technology has been used in the United States to treat Parkinson's disease.

But in recent months scientists have been focusing on the area of the brain just behind the eyes known as the orbitofrontal cortex - this is associated with feelings of pleasure derived from eating and sex.

A research survey conducted by Morten Kringelbach, senior fellow at Oxford University's department of psychiatry, found the orbitofrontal cortex could be a "new stimulation target" to help people suffering from anhedonia, an inability to experience pleasure from such activities. His findings are reported in the Nature Reviews Neuroscience journal.

Interestingly enough, this is not the only device of this type in development:
An electronic machine, named the Orgasmatron, taken from the 1973 Woody Allen film Sleeper, is already under development by a North Carolina doctor, who is modifying a spinal cord stimulator to produce pleasure in women.

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