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As we all know, data can be transferred through cables using electrical pulses transferred into binary codes. My question is, is it possible to transfer data in a similar manner but through the human body? Basically, can we act as a cable? The answer I am looking for is if it is theoretically possible or not?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. A simple google search would have thrown up lots of examples such as newscientist.com/article/… \$\endgroup\$ – JIm Dearden Aug 21 '14 at 19:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ It uses the skin effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan D. Aug 21 '14 at 19:24
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Sony has patented that for "wireless" headphones, using conductive fabric as electrodes and a frequency between 500kHz and 3MHz:

Sony sends sound through your skin

Full description

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That is very interesting! Thank you for sharing! Do you happen to know the range of this patent? Is it only concerning headphones, or is it the patent regarding the whole method they use in sending data? \$\endgroup\$ – Hani Hashem Aug 21 '14 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ When filing patents, it's a game to be as general as you can while still getting it approved. As such, their patent covers the whole method of communication. \$\endgroup\$ – Jarrod Christman Aug 21 '14 at 19:12
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If we can send data to a space craft a billion (maybe less, maybe more) miles away (namely voyager) undoubtedly we can pass data thru the human body. The answer is YES.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And yet, we can hardly send any data to a submerged submarine. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Aug 21 '14 at 20:19
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Given that peope serve under some circumstances as ad-hoc antennae... it's not a question of theory at all. It happens. It happens a lot.

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Neurons transmit information all the time. For example, from the brain to muscles following intricate pathways including the brainstem, which connects to the spinal cord. In the end, cells respond only at a certain threshold called the action potential:

ActionPotential

Here's a model of a neuron: Membrane Circuit

In addition, chemicals travel from neurons to neurons transmit information. These "neurotransmitters" are slower than the electric signals and their effects are often less specific. In addition, some chemicals can travel from the brain to other organs. These are generally known as hormones. One common example of hormonal signaling is the HPA axis.

The electrical circuits in the brain can be hacked through genetic alteration of neurons, making them respond to light. The potential of optogenetics for future therapeutic applications has been considered by scientists. Today, patients with Parkinson's disease can have a kind of brain pacemaker that provides deep brain stimulation through electrodes, basically compensating for the low neurotransmitter count by plugging into the information circuit for posture and movement.

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