Everyone knows that putting on some decent tunes will provide a pick-me-up when you're feeling low, but a US-based company has gone the extra mile by creating a set of headphones that claim to take your mood to euphoric levels. American start-up Nervana has developed headphones that deliver soft electronic pulses into your ears that it claims stimulate the release of pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. These are the same chemicals that are released into the body by synthetic drugs, as well as those responsible for leaving us buzzing after sex and physical exercise.
According to the manufacturer's website these are the world's only headphones offering a non-invasive, consumer vagus nerve stimulator that synchronises with music. Essentially, the headphones electronically hit a nerve in the brain (vagus), which in-turn stimulates the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that enhance mood.
The pulses are delivered via a pocket-sized generator unit that acts as a throughput between the earpieces and the music player. The generator then analyses the music signal and generates electrical impulses, which are routed through the headphones in time to the beat. An "ambient mode" is also available, which utilises microphones built into the generator to pick up noise from the wearer's surrounding environment and generate the same effect based on nearby sounds, which could be great for concerts and music festivals.
Although there's no solid evidence to back up Nervana's claims just yet, reports from guinea pigs at this year's CES suggest that the team may be on to something, reports Interesting Engineering. The company is also headed up by a number of MDs, which offers at least some reassurance.
While Nervana offers a safer alternative to hitting euphoric highs, it's not necessarily cheaper − the headphones will retail at $299 (?205) when they go on sale this spring, with pre-orders opening later in February.