Pain and subcutaneous electrodes

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yummifruitbat's picture
Pain and subcutaneous electrodes


This will probably seem a bizarre question, in which case I apologise!

I am considering writing a book set in a dystopian near-future, the plot of which will rely on the ability of certain individuals to control the behaviour of their 'subjects'. One idea I have considered involves the use of subcutaenous implants capable of temporarily crippling the 'wearer' with an electric shock on receipt of a remote signal. The intention would be to cause such excruciating pain as to make it almost impossible for most wearers to even contemplate disobedience, but for the shock to be non-lethal and any resulting paralysis only very temporary.
It would of course be possible to simply strap a large battery to each subject and zap them with horribly large voltages, but that would be unsubtle and also probably quite easy to overcome with a little assistance and a pair of wire snips!
I am aware that Biophan and probably other companies are developing thermocouple devices intended to power pacemakers etc. without the need for a battery - instead generating small amounts of electricity from the patient's body heat. My question is, would it be possible (theoretically of course!) to use this sort of device to administer small electric impulses directly (or very close) to nerves to bring about the sort of effect discussed above? Where would be the optimum location for such an implant, bearing in mind that it would be 'installed' in thousands of subjects and thus should require only minimal surgery?
The Biophan devices produce around 100 microwatts at 4 volts and measure about 6cm. The plot would assume only minimal technological advances from present levels, and it would be necessary for the implant to issue successive shocks every few minutes or so in order to ensure long-term control of the subject.

I hope that someone among all these experts will be able to give me some pointers, but if I've posted this in entirely the wrong place, sorry!
Thanks very much for your time,

Best regards


Fraser Moss
Fraser Moss's picture
I'd probably implant it to

I'd probably implant it to interface with the dorsal root ganglia in 2 or three vertabral regions to get the crippling but temporary paralysis you describe. See if you can find a friendly neurosurgon at your local hospital who could tell you how easy it would be to access these with a theoretical or current minimally invasive procedure.