Turning Fingertips Into A Sound Transmitter

Disney Research's Ishin-Den-Shin -- Japanese for "what the mind thinks, the heart transmits" -- converts recorded audio into a signal that passes from person to person through simple touch.

What's the Latest Development?


Presented at this week's Ars Electronica festival in Austria: A technology from Pittsburgh's Disney Research that transmits sound through human touch. A person using Ishin-Den-Shin -- named after a Japanese mantra representing unspoken mutual understanding -- speaks into a standard microphone, which is then converted into an inaudible signal that becomes audible when the speaker touches another person's earlobe, "effectively whispering a message into that person's ear." The sound can pass from body to body via any physical contact, but it can only be heard by the person whose earlobe is being touched. The technology won an honorable mention at the festival.

What's the Big Idea?

While it's not clear how Ishin-Den-Shin might be used in environments other than parties -- a less-breathy version of the Telephone Game, for example -- using the human body to conduct sound has become more common in recent years. One of the more popular methods, bone conduction, brings sound directly to the inner ear through bones in the skull, and is found in some headphones and hearing aids as well as Google Glass. Disney Research's system uses an electrostatic field that forms around the speaker's skin and produces a vibration when it comes into contact with the listener's earlobe.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC News

Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice
popular

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less