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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Potato Chip Bag Microphone

This one is downright scary when you think about it. We've all heard about the CIA being able to listen to conversations from a block away by measuring the minute vibrations on a pane of window glass with a laser. The following research, which is a joint effort between MIT, Microsoft and Adobe, takes this concept a step or two further by capturing sounds from a plant in the room, or my favorite, a bag of chips.

It's called the Visual Microphone, and is built around the passive recovery of sound from video of an object.

Although for best results a high speed camera with a frequency higher than the audio frequency you're trying to capture is needed, the following video also shows how an everyday low speed camera with a "rolling shutter" can work as well.

And be careful about what you say around that empty bag of chips from now on! There's no telling who's listening.


1 comment:

Jef Knight said...

That's brilliant!
I've always suspected that this could be achieved. The late Stephen StCroix was a forerunner in the science of recorvering audio. His research papers are still a good read. He claimed he could recover room sounds/dialog from the brush strokes of old paintings. The govt would not let him try and sus out the Nixon tapes though. Too bad, that would have been interesting.


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