beaming sound like a laser beam

My friend Dave sent the following note out to some folks today. Its about an article that I linked to on Monday, the one about the inventor who could beam sound right into peoples heads. Daves a scientist. If I recall correctly, he has advanced degrees in music and physics. Thats why he knows all this stuff.

I first heard about it a year or more ago and have been waiting for it to start being used. I guess they are still building the fortress the inventor is going to store all his money in.

For those who didn’t read the article:

This inventor (invented the sonogram in the early 80s) took two simple principles of sound physics:

1. Two sound waves that occur in the same place and time will create the “appearance” of a third frequency that is the difference in the frequencies of the first two. Like when you tune your guitar (OK, just pretend for a second you do) with an open string and the 5th fret. You hear the “beats” and turn the key until they stop. The frequency of the beats is equal to the difference in pitch of the two notes. As the two notes get closer and closer the beats get slower and slower until the notes are the same.

So principle # 1: you can create a third wave with two sound waves.

2. Low frequency sound waves are non-directional. You can put your subwoofer anywhere in the room, under the couch or whatever, and still hear the bass just fine. High frequency sounds are directional. If you stand to the side of a tweeter, you won’t hear the highs as well and right in front of the speaker.

Principle #2: The higher the frequency, the more directional the sound is.

So what this guy does is take principle 2 to the extreme and has speakers that send out a really high frequency. Not even close to being audible even to dogs. Humans can hear up to 20,000 Hz. His speakers put out 200,000 Hz. This makes them highly directional. It’s like an audio laser beam going through the air.

Of course nobody can hear this high reduce beam, but what if you have two of these audio laser beams going and have them intersect at some point in space? Say one is at 200,000 Hz and the other is 200,800 Hz? Principle #1: You’ll hear the difference between the frees or 800 Hz. That is a freq you definitely can hear.

He can aim the two beams to intersect right at your head. So the people next to you don’t hear a thing. He’s standing up on some balcony and whispering into a microphone “I’m watching yooouuuu….”

Or he can turn up the audio so loud that you can’t even block the sound with your fingers in your ears and your whole head shakes and your eyeballs ache and you pass out from the pain.

It’s incredible what they’ll do with this. One quote was “a person’s hands clamped over their ears is just as good as a set of handcuffs.”

And they talked about the USS Cole and having a ring of impenetrable sound around it. So no one could ever sneak up on it.

Of course there are a jillion uses for marketing and commerce. I think they said starting in Japan coke machines will have the sound of ice cubes rattling and coke pouring playing at everyone who walks by.

I think the weapon aspects of it are interesting. If I can buy some piezo tweeters and make a simple one of these myself, what is the law for using or possessing it? It’s like a stun gun in that its effect is temporary. But its also easy to conceal. And works “invisibly” from a distance. You can take someone down from 100 feet away. Or you could just harrass people horribly. You could make people think a gun fight just broke out behind them. Or a car accident.


It’s crazy.

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