Wednesday, April 27, 2005

japanese soda machines zap passersby with beamed audio

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it's like sound lasers, really. woody norris, a man cloaked in mystery, invented the piezoelectric transducer, a device able to beam audio across distances of up to 150 yards with almost no degradation of sound. someone standing where the beam is aimed would hear the emitted sounds coming as if from thin air (like birds chirping), like it was playing inside their own heads, while someone right next to them wouldn't be any wiser.

the applications are numerous, if not apparent: thousands of soda machines in tokyo will soon bombard passersby with the enticing sound of a coke being poured, and several u.s. supermarkets will promote products to shoppers as they walk down corresponding aisles. eventually hypersonic sound might enable a nightclub to play disco on one side of the dance floor and salsa on the other. ambulances equipped with hypersonic sirens could clear the streets without waking the neighbors. norris' company, american technology, sells the devices for $600.

this is one of those technologies that could grow, and probably isn't going to be used how people expect. just imagine the potential for pranks, passing secrets in class, spooking passersby, deafening enemies, scaring pets, etc, etc. i can't wait til they're in cell phones.

full article at popular science

idea via eyebeam reblog and boingboing


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