born of surprising new
results in neuroscience
The science of sensory substitution
Neosensory feeds information to the brain via touch. Our technology emerged from the research laboratory of neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman, and under the aegis of Neosensory we have built the technology into a sleek wristband with vibratory motors, a microphone, high computational capacity, and cutting-edge algorithms.
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Tinnitus affects 10 – 15% of people. It’s not rare, but it can be difficult to live with.
There’s no cure for tinnitus, but new neuroscience research shows that pairing notes with touch (known as bimodal stimulation) can reduce the volume and annoyance of ringing in the ears. These studies were originally done with tones and shocks on the tongue, with good results: about 80% of participants were significantly helped, with an average of 25% reduction in symptoms (Marks et al, 2019; Conlon et al, 2020).
In Neosensory’s tinnitus program, we have made this simpler and more effective. First, no doctor’s visit is required. We mail the equipment to your home. You simply download our free app, put on the wristband, and listen to a specially designed series of notes for 10 minutes a day. The sounds and our patented vibrations are synchronized, which tells the brain which sounds are external and which are internal. Over the course of 8 weeks the tinnitus becomes less challenging to deal with on a daily basis.
Perrotta M & Eagleman DM (2021). Use of sound-touch bimodal stimulation to reduce symptoms of tinnitus. Frontiers in Neuroscience. In preparation.
Conlon B, Langguth B, Hamilton C, Hughes S, Meade E, Connor CO, Schecklmann M, Hall DA, Vanneste S, Leong SL, Subramaniam T (2020). Bimodal neuromodulation combining sound and tongue stimulation reduces tinnitus symptoms in a large randomized clinical study. Science Translational Medicine. 12(564).
Eagleman DM (2020). Livewired. Pantheon Books.
Marks KL, Martel DT, Wu C, Basura GJ, Roberts LE, Schvartz-Leyzac KC, Shore SE (2018). Auditory-somatosensory bimodal stimulation desynchronizes brain circuitry to reduce tinnitus in guinea pigs and humans. Science Translational Medicine. 10(422).
Sound awareness for hearing loss
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn to identify sounds that are translated into spatiotemporal patterns of vibration on the skin of the wrist. In our peer-reviewed, published studies, we have demonstrated that participants can identify of up to 95% of sounds simply by the spatial pattern of vibrations on the skin. Performance improved significantly over the course of 1 month. Similar results were obtained with pattern discrimination, in which a pattern representing the sound of one word was presented to the skin, followed by that of a second word. Participants answered whether the word was the same or different. With pairs distinguished by only one phoneme (such as “house” and “mouse”), the best performance was 83% (average of 62%), while with non-minimal pairs (such as “house” and “zip”) the best performance was 100% (average of 70%). These results demonstrate how readily participants can use the skin to interpret sound.
Perrotta, Asgeirsdottir, Eagleman (2021). Deciphering sounds through patterns of vibration on the skin. Neuroscience.
Eagleman (2020). Livewired. New York: Pantheon.
Novich & Eagleman (2015). Using space and time to encode vibrotactile information: toward an estimate of the skin’s achievable throughput. Experimental Brain Research.
The Science: Bigger Picture
Want to know more about why this works?
Learn more about our developments with sensory substitution in our TED talk.
Want to know how this fits into the concepts of brain plasticity?
Read the Pulitzer-prize nominated book by Stanford University neuroscientist David Eagleman, our Neosensory CEO.