When it comes to secrets, whispering just got outdated. Disney Research has come up with a microphone, straight out of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, that doesn't actually amplify your ramblings, but instead turns them into a secret signal you can transmit by touch.
The Ishin-Den-Shin installation—named for a Japanese term that means something along the lines of "telepathy" and/or "tacit understanding"—actually takes the sound being spoken into a microphone, and reconfigures it into a high voltage, low current, inaudible signal that's beamed back into the microphone-wielders body. Then, when he or she reaches out to touch another person's ear, that the inaudible signal actually vibrates the listener's earlobe, which then works as a tiny speaker to deliver the message.
If you remember the beginning of The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy, when the Vogons arrive to blow up the Earth, they turn every object on Earth into a perfect hi-fi PA system that is used to announce that the Earth is going to be destroyed. Ishin-Denshin is something along those lines, minus destruction of the Earth.
Like plenty of other Disney Research projects, Ishin-Den-Shin doesn't exactly have any immediate applications besides "being really cool as part of a thing in Disneyland." But who cares? It's awesome. And hey, if somehow, somebody could turn this tech into earbud-less earbuds, we'd take a finger in the ear to hear the pitch. [Disney Research via New Scientist]