Thursday, 19 September 2013

Sound at your Fingertips



Technology from Disney Research, Pittsburgh has come out with a device which transmits sound through human touch. It is a new invention that enables you to record messages to friends that can be heard with a touch of your finger to the earlobes. With the help of your finger and another person’s ear, together forms a speaker that helps the other person to hear your message. Ishin-Den-Shin so called is named after a Japanese mantra which represents unspoken understanding and speaks into a standard microphone which is then converted into an inaudible signal which tends to get audible when the speaker touches another person’s earlobes. The sound can be transmitted from body to body with the help of any physical contact though it can only be heard by the person whose earlobe is touched and this technology won the honors at Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. This system depends on a special microphone created by Disney Research engineers, wherein the sound is recorded and rendered into a high voltage, low current and in an inaudible signal. The sound can only be heard when someone holding the microphone touches the fingers to another person’s ears. The sound can also move through multiple bodies if the person A holding the microphone touches person B’s shoulder while at the same time person C’s ear for the sound to be transmitted to the person C.


 Human bodies are capable of transmitting sound as electrical signals and using the human body to conduct sound is becoming common in the recent years. One of the most popular methods is the bone conduction which brings sound directly to the inner ear through bones in the skull and which is found in some head phones enabling hearing aids and in Google’s Glass. The system used by Disney Research is an electrostatic field which forms around the speaker’s skin and creates a vibration when it comes in contact with the person’s earlobe. The Ishin-Den-Shin system, which includes a hand held microphone, is connected to a computer. It operates when the speaker speaks into the microphone and the computer changes the sound into looped recording. This recording is then converted into high voltage, low current inaudible signal, which flows into the thin wires connected to the interior of the microphone. The looped inaudible signal then creates a modulated electrostatic field thus producing a tiny vibration as the fingers touch the ear, forming a speaker. The Ishin-Den-Shin system can be used for everyday activities for interactive sound devices without the need of any special instrument. It could help to explore new avenues for inter personal communication and can be used to transfer sound from one person to another with the use of our bodies which has the capabilities of a conductor of sound

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