First I read this:
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.
Neurosurgery professor Tipu Aziz, said: "There is evidence that this chip will work. A few years ago a scientist implanted such a device into the brain of a woman with a low sex drive and turned her into a very sexually active woman. She didn't like the sudden change, so the wiring in her head was removed."
He added however that the current technology, which requires surgery to connect a wire from a heart pacemaker into the brain, can cause bleeding and is "intrusive and crude".
He continued: "When the technology is improved, we can use deep brain stimulation in many new areas. It will be more subtle, with more control over the power so you may be able to turn the chip on and off when needed.
"In 10 years' time the range of therapies available will be amazing – we don't know half the possibilities yet."
But the last paragraph catches my eye:
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.
North Carolina doctor, you say?
Tapa-tapa-tapa. Google is my friend.
I discover this article from 2003:
Some time after the snickers have subsided, when fewer people wink knowingly about the new meaning of "O! Winston-Salem," Dr. Stuart Meloy sees in his so-called "Orgasmatron" a promising future — as a business.
Meloy's device, which he has already patented and is indeed trying to trademark under the name Orgasmatron, has the power to give women a sexual climax. It's Woody Allen's "Sleeper" come to life, only instead of a walk-in booth, a tiny spinal cord stimulator delivers the pleasure.
He thinks that just as women dig into their own savings to pay for face lifts and breast implants, they likewise would fork over the estimated $17,000 to have an Orgasmatron, not unlike a pacemaker in size and function, permanently embedded in their lower backs. A hand-held remote control turns the device on and off.
Then maybe 1,000 women would flock to his Winston-Salem clinic each year for such a procedure.
But that was five years ago. And the "O! Winston-Salem" campaign failed gigantically. Did the Orgasmatron meet the same fate?
Well, the 1,000 women per year thing apparently didn't happen.
And the NASF (neurally augmented sexual function) website — http://www.nasfonline.com/ – seems to be belly-up.
But our local hero hasn't given up — apparently there's still some work to be done. Volunteers anyone?