- Science! August 5
Researchers at MIT, Adobe, and Microsoft joined forces to develop an algorithm that is able to recreate an audio signal by studying the tiny vibrations of objects.
The team recorded videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, the leaves of a plant, and a potato chip bag, and then extracted audio signals. In the case of the potato chip bag, researchers filmed people talking 15 feet away behind soundproof glass, yet were still able to recover "intelligible speech from the vibrations of the bag," MIT reports.
One of the study's authors, graduate student Abe Davis, says that when sound hits objects it makes them vibrate, but those vibrations are so tiny that the naked eye can rarely see them. "People didn't realize that this information was there," he said.
Watch the video below to gain further insight into these "visual microphones" and to see and hear the actual experiments. --Catherine Garcia
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- Pope Francis' American problem
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
Subscribe to the Week