Disney magic turns your ear lobe into a speaker


A new project from Disney Research Pittsburgh lets you transmit sound through your body. Inshin-Den-Shin, which takes its name from a Japanese idiom for "unspoken mutual understanding," consists of nothing more than a voice-activated microphone, a computer, and a thin wire. After you talk into the microphone, the message is looped by the computer's sound card and sent back to the microphone as a high-voltage (300 Vpp), low-current (50 uA) electric signal.
Anyone holding the microphone then conducts that signal, and can pass it onto someone else by touching them near their ear. Touching another person's ear creates a modulated electrostatic field that in turn creates a tiny vibration of the ear lobe. The finger and ear lobe form a speaker of sorts, allowing the formerly inaudible signal to be heard. As demonstrated in Disney Research's video, the signal has sufficient power to pass through two people before being heard.
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