Speed Reads


New study finds that potato chip bags are listening to your every word

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