Disney Sends Audio Signal Through Human Touch

At Shure, we talk a lot about the audio signal path when we refer to sound’s journey from microphone to mixer to P.A. system. But we were blown away by a recent Disney Research Technology project called “Ishin-Den-Shin” which transmits an audio signal, in part, through the human body.

The project’s audio chain includes a modified Shure 55 microphone which is connected to a computer. When a person talks into the mic an audio loop is created. Then the loop is, according to the Disney Research website, “converted into a high-voltage, low-current inaudible signal” that is passed back by a wire to the microphone. The chrome-plated microphone conducts the signal and passes it through the human body. When touching another person’s ear a controlled electrostatic discharge between a source point (fingertip) and the diaphragm (the ear in this case) create sound. The sound heard by the receiving ear is probably more of a whisper than the original recorded sound. Since the outer ear does not normally function as a speaker diaphragm, the sound would be very quiet and frequency band limited. That said… pretty cool experiment.

The project’s name “Ishin-Den-Shin,” incidentally, is a Japanese expression for communicating through an unspoken mutual understanding.

Find out more at: http://www.disneyresearch.com/project/ishin-den-shin

Disney Research Photo

Photo credit: Disney Research Pittsburgh

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Matt Dobschuetz

Matt Dobschuetz

Matt grew up loving 80’s hip hop and Chicago house music. He currently loves Swedish pop star Robyn. Favorite activities include his sons’ sporting events, church, or the search for great craft beer.

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