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April 28, 2005

This Could Be Very Cool or Very Annoying or Likely Both

Hypersound. Subaudible soundwaves that, when directed at a person, become audible, and sound as if they're coming from inside the subject's own head.

Minority Report displayed hypersound advertisements (along with something even more annoying: computerized determination of what sort of person you were and therefore what ads might appeal to you). But it's really not sci-fi. It's something that's coming fairly shortly.

This cat just won a $500,000 prize from MIT for his HyperSonic sound system, so this is no crank making wild claims about his perpetual motion device:

Elwood "Woody" Norris pointed a metal frequency emitter at one of perhaps 30 people who had come to see his invention. The emitter β€” an aluminum square β€” was hooked up by a wire to a CD player. Norris switched on the CD player. "There's no speaker, but when I point this pad at you, you will hear the waterfall," said the 63-year-old Californian.

And one by one, each person in the audience did, and smiled widely.


Norris said the uses for the technology could come in handy β€” in cars, in the airport or at home.

Handy? It's going to be a nightmare.

Although it will be very useful if you want to gaslight someone... at least in the next couple of years, before people are generally aware that "demonic voices inside your head" may not be the result of schizophrenia but rather a prank being played on you by your geek buddy Stinky.

"Imagine your wife wants to watch television and you want to read a book, like the intellectual you are," he said to the crowd. "Imagine you are a lifeguard or a coach and you want to yell at someone, he'll be the only one to hear you."

Imagine you're walking down the street and you are bombarded with a dozen in-your-head advertisements, like "Drink Coke!" or "Hey! Great website! Agree with everything you say!"

Norris holds 47 U.S. patents, including one for a digital handheld recorder and another for a handsfree headset. He said the digital recorder made him an inventor for life.

"That sold for $5 million," Norris laughed. "That really made me want to be an inventor."

Shut up, really?

Thanks to LauraW.

Okay... This Could Be Fun Update: Hubris opines--

I can only imagine the myriad applications for the gents in my native West Virginia whose idea of flirting was to hang out of a truck and yell "what are you doin' with them titties later?!"

I've been waiting for just this sort of high-tech covert Mr. Microphone since I was 7.

Imagine driving down the street anonymously pestering a hundred women with "Hey good lookin', be back to pick you up later!"

Good times. Good times.

All Technology Is First Deployed For Sexual Purposes Update: You know those bars they used to have, and maybe still do, where every table has a phone and so you can call other tables and try to hook up with other people?

This would be better/worse. At least it would be different and a novelty... for a year, which is the best a trendy bar can expect anyway.

It would give me a chance to use the "smooth rap" I've developed for the ladies over the years, but never had the balls to use, like, (in my best Jamie Gumm "It puts the lotion on its skin" impression) "First, I will begin by strangling your pets. Second, I will break into your home and... touch things."

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posted by Ace at 10:59 AM

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