Hypersonic Sound (HSS) - Loudspeaker Just For You
Hypersonic Sound (HSS) technology does for sound what lasers did for light - provide a far more focused stream of energy over a greater distance with less dispersion. Inventor Woody Norris (shown below with his invention) has received several awards for the idea, including a Grand Prize for inventions from Popular Science: the Segway took second that same year. He was awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize this past week.
(From Hypersonic Sound (HSS) Technology)
In a recent demonstration at the American Technology Corporation, the speaker (shown above) was pointed at someone one hundred yards away. The listener heard the sound as if through headphones - despite the ambient noise from a nearby freeway - and people two feet to either side heard nothing. Sound from an HSS speaker can travel up to 150 yards without distortion or loss of volume; anyone outside the beam path hears nothing.
Here's how it works:
The piezoelectric transducer emits sound at frequencies above the human ear's 20,000-cycle threshold. Unlike low-frequency waves, the high-frequency signals don't spread out as they travel through air. Yet they do interact with the air to induce a related set of ultrasonic waves. These waves combine with the original waves, interfering to create an audible signal, focused into a beam.
(From Hypersonic Sound)
Among the many planned applications:
Cirque de Solei is considering using it to beam instructions to trapeze artists.
- Laptop speakers that only the user can hear
- Grocery store displays heard only by the person standing directly in front of them
- Entirely separate sound for front seat passengers and for those in the rear seats
- Workers on the flightline on aircraft carriers
- Life guards could warn individual swimmers at noisy pools
The idea of wireless communication has fascinated science fiction writers. One very close analog to this idea showed up in E.E. "Doc" Smith's 1937 novel Galactic Patrol, in the form of a tight-beam ultra-communicator:
"Squads left - march!" Although no possible human voice could have been heard in that gale of soul-stirring sound and although Kinnison's lips scarcely moved, his command was carried to the very bones of those for whom it was intended - and to no one else - by the tight-beam ultra-communicators strapped upon their chests. "Close formation - forward - March!"
(From Galactic Patrol)
Read more about the Hypersonic Sound technology at
ABC News and the
Woody Norris website. Those of you interested in other forms of personal communcators might want to check out the audio relay (Robert Heinlein, 1951), the distrans (Frank Herbert, 1965) and the communications implant (Niven and Pournelle, 1981). Or see what I have on the site related to communications technovelgy. (Thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story.)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/22/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 10 )
Related News Stories -
Ribbit Amphibian Cellphone Internet Mashup
Ribbit is an interesting cell phone start-up from those people in Silicon Valley. Why did it take so long for them to start a phone company?
Hypersonic Sound (HSS) - Loudspeaker Just For You
Hypersonic Sound (HSS) technology does for sound what lasers did for light - provide a far more focused stream of energy over a greater distance with less dispersion.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Sketching Robots May Displace Starving Artists
Jeez, robots, leave us with something.
Three Clues To Limb Regeneration
'Forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers...'
Soft Caterpillar Robot Powered By Light
'the spread-out "puddle" shape she used for soaking up sun...'
Converting Low Temp Waste Heat To Electricity
'Our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
Flex Robot Surgeon - Let's Hope You're Sedated
There are other insertion points, right, Neo?
Liquid Metal Terminator Development Hums Right Along
More research is needed - check!
Kiwi Dominos Drone Pizza Delivery
If you can deliver diapers, you can deliver pizzas.
MIT Robot Helps Out In Delivery Room
Oooee nooomaa oooee. And you thought today's doctors were hard to understand.
Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...'
Fleets Of Ford Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
'He urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster?'
Electric Head Patch Helps PTSD Patients
'Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models.'
MEDi Robot Calms The Nervous Patient
'Specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices.'
NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Superior Morals For Autonomous Cars
Exemplars of military and civic virtue.
Housekeeping Robots Easy To Imagine, Tough To Make
George Jetson had it easy.
Augmented Reality On Construction Sites
'To Nigel Bishop, the walls had become blue glass...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories