Super Microphone Can Listen To Any Conversation On the CourtS

Click to viewThat big yellow circle attached to the bottom of the Lakers' jumbotron? It's a new super microphone that can zoom into any conversation with perfect clarity. Listen to it pick up the guy chewing bubble gum next to Phil Jackson.

The AudioScope, developed accidentally when two former University of Oslo physicists were working on sonar tech, is a circular array of 300 microphones and a wide angle camera that hangs above sporting events and can listen in on any individual who happens to be playing, coaching, or reffing below.

The system's software determines where the desired conversation is originating from and calculates how long it should take that sound to reach each individual mic overhead. It then synchronizes the feeds, making any spot audible even in a crowded stadium.

The AudioScope system is currently being tested out in some basketball and soccer arenas. Surprise, sports fans: athletes swear a whole bunch. [NewScientist]

Update: The Staples Center says that AudioScope was "a test product that came in for one or two games a couple years ago, but has never been a permanent part of our scoreboard system and will not be moving forward." So, front-row Lakers fans, feel free to tell all the dirty jokes you want! No one's listening.