Incredible Disney Microphone Transmit Sounds Through Your Fingertips

Illustration for article titled Incredible Disney Microphone Transmit Sounds Through Your Fingertips

When it comes to secrets, whispering just got outdated.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.

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The Ishin-Den-Shin installationnamed 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.

Illustration for article titled Incredible Disney Microphone Transmit Sounds Through Your Fingertips
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Inventor Ivan Poupyrev of Disney Research in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania described it this (awesome) way to New Scientist:

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]

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DISCUSSION

So let me get this right.. theoretically you could build a system into a smartphone whereby you hold your finger bridging a couple of contacts on the side, play your answerphone messages for example and touch your finger to your ear playing the message through your body, or more useful I guess, use video calling in a crowded place so you dont have to use the external speaker or carry headphones around with you...