I've thought for many years that it would be really nifty to be able to have surgery to allow one to electronically and artificially stimulate one's senses. Originally, I had thought a good alternative to earphones on walkmen would have been to simply plug the walkman into a surgically implanted socket on your wrist or something, but these days a bluetooth, infra red, or IP over 802.11b interface might be more practical.
When you think about it, the acoustic transfer of music from an electronic recording makes little more sence than dubbing a recording by playing it through speakers and recording it with a microphone again. The brain interprets electronic signals from the ear, rather than sound itself, so why not cut out the acoustic middleman? This concept of sound, something which is, by definition, the vibration of matter, which one can hear but doesn't actually exist, is quite interesting.
This technology is already used in some modern hearing aids, which consist of an computer with a microphone and signal processing hardware that is worn externally. There is an implant in the ear which is attached to the nerves involved. The computer induces a current in the implant through the skin. Currently, the sound is tinny and artificial (but much better than being profoundly deaf) due to limitations in the way the sound is converted into nerve signals. I hope this technology will one day create "virtual" sounds as good as, or better than, the real sounds we hear through our ears.
But why stop at sound? Imagine video, it would be your entire field of view, not just most of it like a TV or cinema screen. Because it doesn't go through the eyes, any imperfections there (short sightedness, colour blindness, blindness) would make no difference. It, unlike the screens we are used to, would be truly 3D and indistinguishable from being there!
Hopefully, the same could be done with smell, touch and taste for true virtual reality.
Many poeple think I am strange wanting to be a cyborg of sorts, but I think it would be a much better way to experience games, music, movies, etc.