Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I have a standard axiom: all governments lie. Don't believe anything they say. And corporations are only kinds of government."
- Frank Herbert

Droud  
  A transformer to step down house current for the wire providing current directly to the pleasure center of the brain.  

This is one of the more insidious pieces of technovelgy that you are likely to run into. The design is simplicity itself; The part you can see is just a "fist-sized droud that protruded like a black plastic canker from the crown of [the user's] head."

A small black cylinder protruded from the top of his head. An electric cord trailed from the top of the cylinder and ran to a wall socket.

The cylinder was a droud, a current addict's transformer.

...The droud was a standard make, but it had been altered. Your standard current addict's droud will pass only a trickle of house current into the brain.

From Death by Ecstasy, by Larry Niven.
Published by Galaxy Magazine in 1969
Additional resources -

A droud provides the current; the business end of the droud is inserted into an ecstasy plug embedded in the skull.

Here's a quote from a later book, Ringworld Engineers:

Current addiction is the youngest of mankind's sins. At some time in their histories, most of the cultures of human space have seen the habit as a major scourge. It takes users from the labor market and leaves them to die of self-neglect.

Times change. Generations later, these same cultures usually see current addiction as a mixed blessing. Older sins -- alcoholism and drug addiction and compulsive gambling -- cannot compete. People who can be hooked by drugs are happier with the wire. They take longer to die, and they tend not to have children.

It costs almost nothing. An ecstasy peddler can raise the price of the operation, but for what? The user isn't a wirehead until the wire has been embedded in the pleasure center of his brain. Then the peddler has no hold over him, for the user gets his kicks from house current...

Louis seemed to sag in upon himself. He reached across his smooth scalp to the base of the long black braid, and pulled the droud from its socket beneath the hair. He held it in his hand, considering; then, as always, he dropped it into a drawer and locked it.

Fortunately, no one really knows the precise place to insert the wire; also, the operation itself would be expensive, and keeping the site of the incision clean would be difficult. The author remarks that

Incidentally, droud was a typographical error I kept making for "crowd," as the shisp in hachiroph shisp was a typo for "ships."
The Words in Science Fiction
On the other hand, there is increasing evidence that (regulated) electrical stimulation of certain parts of the brain may offer hope to people who suffer from chronic mental illness. What was apparently the world's first brain pacemaker was installed in 1976; it delivers timed stimulation to the cerebellum and resulted in a great improvement for the patient.

More recently, the Vagal Nerve Stimulator (manufactured by Cyberonics Inc), sends a mild electrical pulse to the vagus nerve (10th cranial nerve), which stimulates regions of the brain believed to control emotions. The device, originally designed to help patients with epilepsy (and approved by the FDA for this purpose), is now being proposed for use with patients with otherwise untreatable depression.

Compare to the pleasure cap from Cordwainer Smith's 1961 novel A Planet Named Shayol.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 3 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Death by Ecstasy
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Death by Ecstasy
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Droud-related news articles:
  - Brain 'Pacemaker' For Depression Sufferers
  - Neural Implant Technology Needs To Improve
  - Erotic Sensation Self-Stimulation Via Brain Implants

Articles related to Entertainment
Actors Reject, Makers Embrace, Posthumous Movie Resurrection
Will Future Games Require Hallucinogens ala Phil Dick?
Emoti-Chair Lets You Hear Through Your Skin
It's Boonta Eve! You Can Podrace With Drones

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.