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Friday, August 22, 2014

Lips to chips: Bagging a conversation

(Photo by Evan-Amos)
It turns out that corn is not the only vegetable with ears.  Potato chips have also bagged their share of conversations.

Larry Hardesty of the MIT News Office reports that “researchers at MIT, Microsoft and Adobe… were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.”

Because sound waves cause objects such as potato-chip bags to subtly vibrate, photographers are then able to decipher particular speech patterns via recordings made by high-speed cameras.  This
means that a conversation can be “downloaded” from mere photographs of a vibrating potato-chip bag.

Hardesty points out that even from "video recorded at a standard 60 frames per second,” the following
might be identifiable:  “the gender of a speaker in the room; the number of speakers; and [possibly]…
their identities.”

This means that the average smart phone can pick up telltale conversations long after the speakers have beat it out of town.  Say the wrong thing when the chips are down, and you could instead be munching on bread and water for a long, long time.


Copyright August 22, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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