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:

  • 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
Cirque de Solei is considering using it to beam instructions to trapeze artists.

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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 10 )

Related News Stories - (" Communcation ")

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.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'

Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'

Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.