A couple of weeks ago I was pondering this idea whilst cleaning out my ears in the shower.
Is there a way, I am wondering, if it is possible to play a tone through an ear piece, and have a microphone, also embedded in the ear piece, monitor the reaction of the ear as it listens to the tone.
And based on the response, perform an action such as navigating in a three dimensional space.
I am under an assumption here that the ear is not a passive listening instrument but can be directed, however subtly, by the brain to tune in to certain characteristics of sounds.
It is well known that people are capable of focusing in on a single tone amongst a cacophony of background noise.
How much of this processing is done in the brain and how much does the brain alter the “tuning” of the ear to achieve this “tuning in?”
Assuming that the ear is reacting in different ways to different tones, if a monitoring device, such as a highly sensitive microphone could detect the noise of the muscles or small hairs in the inner ear responding to these tones then it would be possible to use that as feedback to a software program to perform some other task.
There are definitely small muscles within the ear that are involuntarily controlled, so how much of them can be voluntarily controlled?
Can a paralysed person make use of these inner ear muscles, which a sensitive, non-invasive monitoring device could pick up the movements of, and then the person could control devices simply by changing how they “listen.”