My heroine has wires under her skin, allowing her to pick up & transmit, but I don't know what kind of radio transmissions would be able to traverse through. I can't make the tech noticeable, so it has to be discrete... I know that X-Rays can, but I don't think that is a very healthy choice! :)

Wires as antennae seems to me the only way to allow this discretely.. Is there a better way?

I might have asked in a pure science group, but I'm sure I'd get laughed out of it as soon as I explained why I was interested.

2/8/2015 - UPDATE/Clarification:

I didn't think it would matter to explain more, but I can see I was wrong. In this story, the hero has wires & transceiver inside-but is not aware of it. This 'equipment' is turned 'on' in the course of the first act, and things get strange. In fact, I'm not even telling the reader until much later why she is able to sense things.

But there is another thing I really want to do with this character and this transceiver arrangement that I didn't mention in the OP. It may actually have to do with the frequency/frequencies used... I have been racking my brain to figure out how she can transmit a signal that would help mess up those around her in an emergency. Don't worry about power, that is taken care of elsewhere in our heroine.

My limited knowledge is that actual brain/nerve signals are very, VERY low in frequency, like:

Delta: 0-4 Hz Theta: 6-10 Hz Alpha: 7.5-12.5 Hz Beta: 12.5-30 Hz Gamma: 25-100 Hz Mu, and more here...

So ignoring the effects on the heroine herself (I'll take care of that somehow!), would it be logical to say that a person's antennae could transmit a short burst at frequencies that could affect motor control, etc.?

I apologize if this should be a separate question, but it has a bit to do with the OP. For example, lower frequencies have longer wavelengths, which like longer antennas. The (insulated) wires will emanate from the skull, so can be as long as the longest distances in the body, and also have 'coils' to increase wavelengths (at harmonics if we're talking freqs this low)... I hope this doesn't mess things all up! Tell me if this doesn't help, and I'll copy/paste to a separate post!

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    $\begingroup$ Unless your lady is in a Faraday cage or made out of iron, you should be fine. Humans are generally transparent to radiowaves... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ @SerbanTanasa Except 2.4GHz. $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel Sure, but in the 3e9 Hz range, you're essentially talking microwave spectrum. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ I think from the others that overall sticking to what can be done with LF/ULF is the way to go. As I remember, the higher the frequency of waves, the more water interferes with them. It could be raining, or even having a coat/heavy clothing on... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ Antennas are tricky for very low frequencies. Consider that the wavelength for 30Hz RF is nearly 1,000km long, and antennas really like to be on that order. A half-dipole is a normal antenna, which would be 500km long! Failing to have enough length, you start getting inefficiencies which could make the system really hot really fast. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 2:01

3 Answers 3


Humans are not very transparent for certain frequency radio waves, like the 2.4 GHz used in Bluetooth. You can get it to work, but the attenuation is rather high.

If you've ever looked closely at a microwave oven you'll see it operates at 2.4 GHz. Microwave ovens heat water quite well, and while it's not true that 2.4 GHz is the resonant frequency of water, water does absorb it quite well. This is why humans are not very transparent to these frequencies. We're big bags of water.

Low frequencies work much better. For implantable medical devices, we use the MICS band, this operates around 402 MHz. Lower frequencies work great too, but are used for other communication services.

So, stick with frequencies under 1 GHz and you should be alright.


would it be logical to say that a person's antennae could transmit a short burst at frequencies that could affect motor control, etc.?

Not feasible. It's not an issue of frequencies, it's an issue of power. You can look into tMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and see if you'd like to implement something like that to affect other humans. Basically, alternating current induces an alternating magnetic field and an alternating magnetic field induces an alternating current. Hitting the brain with some strong magnetic fields will generate current in a selected region; it artificially activates brain regions. It requires very high current to generate magnetic fields of appreciable strength and it also requires close proximity to generate enough potential in a small area to induce current.

  • $\begingroup$ +Samuel, I never noticed the 2.4 GHz connection with microwave ovens! I knew that the 'cooked' by heating water molecules by turning them 180deg repeatedly. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ power isn't an issue. There will be an internal power source. I would hope that receiving would take very little. I'll keep at it, thank you! :) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 21:16

Well, from my limited research, there should be no problem at all to have sub dermal radio antennas implanted inside the body, as there is nothing too serious with radio waves

The problem then might be to make it discrete, wires may work, but they may amplify the problems of radio waves on the health, such as displacing more body due to them needing some sort of padding cover so that the metal is not touching the body. One way of dealing with this may be to implant a 1 foot long antenna, covered in some body safe material, parellal to the spine.

I say there are some health problems with having that much radio waves, and they include minor things like sunburn, burns, and skin cancer, but for a cybernetic character, that should be a fairly workable required secondary power

  • $\begingroup$ great link on TV Tropes! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 1:46

Instead of having the radio waves travel through the skin, I think there is a better workaround.

Make the wire goes outside the skin at the nail finger (maybe only 0.1 mm out) and cover the opening with a metal ring.

The metal ring would act as a receiver too beside concealing the wire

This way, she could listen to a very weak / very distant signal if she touch her ring to a large antennae/receiver device

  • $\begingroup$ +Kristian, I like this idea, but there is a small problem... She doesn't know they are there (at first), plus the antennae would need to be non-corrosive, rusting, etc. I should explai more in an edit to the OP... ! thanks! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ But you are on to something, as one's fingers can wrap around a metal object and form a coil around it. And a funny thing to the OP is that there is such a thing called the "Right Hand Rule"! :) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-hand_rule $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 1:48

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