Monday, January 19, 2009

Holosonic Audio Spotlight: How to Make A Person Hear Voices

The following video gives a description and demonstration of the Holosonic "Audio Spotlight" -- a highly portable ultrasonic speaker system that can be directly aimed at a target individual and used to put a 3D voice into their ears. It only requires speaking into a microphone.

As the video explains, the ultrasonic beam is so highly focussed that no one else can hear it -- not even in a library. Because no one else seems to be reacting, and no speaker seems to be present, it makes the target think they are "hearing voices."

Excerpt from the article at the link above:

Previously, this technology had been used in places like museums or libraries; it creates an isolated experience while not disturbing those in the general area.

I'm guessing some readers might be disturbed by the idea of an ad that is beamed right at them as they walk down the sidewalk. However, cheerful Joe Pompei, president and founder of Holosonics, knows you'll come to love the technology:

"If you really want to annoy a lot of people, a loudspeaker is the best way to do it," he said. "If you set up a loudspeaker on the top of a building, everybody's going to hear that noise. But if you're only directing that sound to a specific viewer, you're never going to hear a neighbor complaint from street vendors or pedestrians. The whole idea is to spare other people."

"There's going to be a certain population sensitive to it. But once people see what it does and hear for themselves, they'll see it's effective for getting attention," Mr. Pompei said.

I find myself wondering if perhaps there will be an increase in the number of people who check themselves into mental health services for a quick schizophrenia check-up.

Secret Sound Directional Speaker System

Museums have been using such "directional speaker systems" as exhibit devices since the late 1980s. It's now considered dinosaur technology, yet still startles people who are not expecting a clear, sourceless and highly focussed voice from nowhere. See this website:

Hyper-spike Sound Laser

If you imagine that the military has much better equipment in its bag of tricks, you are quite right. Check out the "Hyperspike Sound Laser" produced by Wattre Corp.:

Their set-up video demonstrates how portable these systems can be. An extremely focused, laser-like beam gives a delivery range up to one mile.

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