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