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.
Tesla Promises Fully Autonomous Cars By 2018
'It's been a criminal offense for at least a hundred years to drive manually on a public highway.'
Light Molecules (And Maybe Light Sabers, Someday)
'It will be matter, matter made of light...'
Telepresence In The Office
'That led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely... under direct control.'
Piper, Google's 2 Billion Line Code Repository, Needs A Cool Display
'The student pointed a finger and as he did so, the line of equations marched down the wall...'
WEpod Driverless Vehicle On The Netherlands Roads
'The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering.'
Computer Predicts Psychosis Better Than Psychiatrists
'The mechanism which was the portable extension of Dr. Smile...'
Robot Evolution Needs Mass Extinction Events
'It was small, one of the baby ones.'
Lab-Grown Kidneys Implanted Successfully - In Animals
'For a while your colonists will have to come up to the Hospital to get treatment with the ramrobot symbiots...'
Korean Lab Ready To Clone Your Dog
Man's best friend, cloned.
DARPA NeuroTech Hand With Natural Sensation
'Take care, sir.'
Nuke Mars To Terraform It, Says Elon Musk
'... Mars could not be made habitable without first being stocked with air and water...'
Texas-Sized Ice Slab Found On Mars
'That's okay, still ice in The Rock and a miner expects to sound for it...'
Invisible Drones Will (Not) Appear Over Your Town
'Light-waves are bent around it without loss or distortion.'
Transwheel Drone Robotic Delivery Vehicle
One good single-wheel delivery concept deserves another.
Cool Chaac Ha Dew Collector Video
'The surface condenses moisture out of the air...'
NASA Turns To Museum Space Shuttles For Parts
Tropes true to life.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories