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Hearing is Believing - putting words in your head from 100 yards away.

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by Poop Man Bob, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

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    Hearing is Believing - putting words in your head from 100 yards away.

    Discussion started by Poop Man Bob - Aug 1, 2002

    http://a799.ms.akamai.net/3/799/388/2f9115939b9f5d/www.msnbc.com/news/1572708.jpg'>

    [url=http://www.msnbc.com/news/786016.asp]http://www.msnbc.com/news/786016.asp[/url]

    BLESSED WITH THE bone-crunching handshake of a used-car salesman, the R-rated vocabulary of a drill sergeant and the potential innovative genius of a Thomas Edison (Norris’s previous claim to fame was creating a forerunner to the sonogram), Norris has an enthusiasm for his latest contraption that’s infectious.
    He’s standing in a corner of his cluttered San Diego office, holding a gizmo that looks something like a retro-futuristic waffle iron with a portable CD player Velcroed to its back. “Are you ready?” he asks, then points his invention directly at the head of someone who’s just entered the room 10 feet away. “Now, can you hear it? Can you hear it? Isn’t that unbelievable?” What the person across the room hears is, well, unbelievable: all of a sudden, the sound of a waterfall has materialized in his head. And, it turns out, no one else in the room can hear it but him. It’s as if the sound is coming out of thin air. As Keanu Reeves said in “The Matrix”: whoa.


    After more than a decade of trial and error and about $30 million in R&D, the 63-year-old Norris may be on the verge of changing the world as we hear it—and making some major money to boot. The Hyper-Sonic Sound System (HSS), as he calls it, can take an audio signal from virtually any source—home stereo, TV, computer, microphone, etc.—and convert it to an ultrasonic frequency that can be directed like a beam of light toward a target up to 100 yards away. Picture a car where parents can listen to the Eagles while their kids wild out to Eminem in the back seat. This is big audio dynamite—possibly the biggest breakthrough since modern speakers were conceived 77 years ago—and Norris knows it. “It’s rare when you have a Thomas Edison who actually gets fame and success in his own lifetime,” he says with customary modesty. “This is a big, honkin’ hit.”


    What’s the secret? In the range that human beings can hear, sound scatters in all directions, like the light from an open flame. Traditional speakers work by moving air; they rapidly vibrate the flexible cones in your speakers to form sound waves. But no single speaker can accurately reproduce the —full range of audible sound (approximately 20Hz to 20,000Hz), so loudspeakers rely on separate units—large woofers for low frequencies, small tweeters for high frequencies and midrange speakers for the middle of the audio spectrum—to re-create the whole range of sound. That works fairly well, but it also has some drawbacks, most notably distortion from the multiple sound fields that become increasingly apparent as you pump up the volume.


    Instead of using a vibrating membrane like traditional speakers, the HSS technology electronically converts audible tones into a pair of ultrasonic waves at frequencies far beyond human hearing. But when the ultrasonic waves interact after being processed by Norris’s creation, they reproduce the original audible frequency. Even better, since the audible frequency is being carried by those ultrasonic signals, it’s highly directional. That means you can effectively “shine” a spot of sound wherever you want it. What Norris has done over 10 years is to figure out a relatively inexpensive way to combine the two ultrasonic signals to produce the desired sound. Two weeks ago ATC start- ed limited production, and the company’s small lab is already strewn with the devices. Prices are expected to range from $600 to $900 per unit, depending on size.



    It’s easy to see how HSS could make some magic. Imagine a home theater system optimized not for your entire living room but for the club chair that you kick back in. Or a giant nightclub with several different music areas on the dance floor, none of them overlapping. But Norris has $30 million in costs to recoup, and HSS isn’t yet perfected for the lower tones prevalent in music. So some of the cooler stuff will have to wait while he hooks up with retailers and the U.S. military for “Minority Report”-style applications: vending machines that call out to you as you walk by; sonic “guns” that can incapacitate the enemy with 150 decibels of sound without deafening the good guys. One person who came away impressed is U.S. Marine Capt. Todd Gillingham, after a recent demonstration for more than 40 military and law-enforcement representatives. “For instance, it can send the tape-recorded sound of a tank or explosion to another area to throw the enemy off,” he says. “I don’t know about us acquiring this technology in any large quantities at this point, but I do think it has great potential.”


    That’s music to the longtime inventor’s ears. After Norris sold his first patent for $330,000 in the early ’60s, he quit college and never looked back. His subsequent efforts range from an all-in-one earpiece-microphone for hands-free mobile-phone use (sold to another company for $1.5 million), the world’s smallest AM-FM radio (a modest success) and a personal aviation device (a James Bond-like mini-helicopter that has gotten off the ground, but has yet to truly take off). All this and more can be perused at woodynorris.com, his hilariously self-promotional Web site, where every article ever written about him or his products—from publications like Popular Mechanics and BusinessWeek to Playboy and Gallery—has been carefully scanned and posted. And Norris’s outsize dreams extend to Hollywood; he likes to show off his sci-fi screenplay about—surprise—the world’s greatest physicist.



    Not everyone is a believer in the San Diego inventor. A local newspaper characterized him as “a dream spinner who regularly disappointed Wall Street with glowing predictions for various electronic products that subsequently flopped.” Floyd Toole, vice president of acoustical engineering at the high-fidelity audio company Harman International, met with Norris several years ago and remains skeptical. “It’s a party trick,” says Toole about HSS. “We don’t believe it represents a paradigm shift in mass-market audio.” Perhaps Norris’s harshest critic is former MIT Media Lab researcher Joseph Pompei, who’s developed a rival product under the name Audio Spotlight (automaker DaimlerChrysler is evaluating it in some concept cars) and accuses Norris of everything from taking credit for the work of others to dubious business practices, all of which Norris denies. “For over a decade, [Norris has] promoted impressive-sounding technology of which he has very little evidence of real understanding,” says Pompei. Norris shoots back: “His unit is where we were five years ago.”
    “You know Panasonic’s slogan ‘Just slightly ahead of our time’?” Norris asks. “Everything I’ve ever invented has been about 10 years ahead of its time. I know the reputation I have in San Diego: that I take too long on these things, that nothing I’ve invented has ever made money. Well, this will be my vindication.” The world will be watching—and listening.
     
    Poop Man Bob - Rank: Dirty Dozen Crew - Messages:
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  2. ToYs

    ToYs Guest

    ToYs - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    crazy!
     
  3. capindikfays

    capindikfays New Jack

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    capindikfays - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    right the fuck on.

    finally, one step closer to flighing cars.

    good post

    that means that you could have a wharehouse of people dancing.

    but each and every single one, is jamming out to a different tune.


    lifes a garden, dig it
     
    capindikfays - Rank: New Jack - Messages:
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  4. uncle-boy

    uncle-boy Guest

    uncle-boy - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    cool but scary.
     
  5. ToYs

    ToYs Guest

    ToYs - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    amagine what could happen if that technology gets in the wrong hands...
     
  6. capindikfays

    capindikfays New Jack

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    capindikfays - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    yeah, they can torcher the whole world with country music.

    oh-no

    we're all fucked..... i reckon
     
    capindikfays - Rank: New Jack - Messages:
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  7. ToYs

    ToYs Guest

    ToYs - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    are you stalking me? haha
     
  8. socrates

    socrates Guest

    socrates - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    interesting...............
     
  9. Stapler

    Stapler Guest

    Stapler - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    You know how much fun one of those things could be with a person that is stoned and listening to himself getting told he is a scitsophrenic and is hearing the devil and shit in his head.............I want one NOW
     
  10. Kr430n5_666

    Kr430n5_666 Banned

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    Kr430n5_666 - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    [​IMG]
     
    Kr430n5_666 - Rank: Banned - Messages:
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  11. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

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    Poop Man Bob - Replied Aug 1, 2002

    Bumpo.
     
    Poop Man Bob - Rank: Dirty Dozen Crew - Messages:
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  12. imported_El Mamerro - Replied Aug 5, 2002

    Two years ago I was doing this studio class with the MIT AgeLab, designing stuff for old people, and one of my concepts involved hearing aids embedded inside earrings that used this same technology to send sound straight into the eardrums without having to stick the aid inside your ear. The guys from MIT gave me that Pompei guy's e-mail in case I was interested in going further, but I decided to work on diabetes and crap. Who knows where I could've been by now, dammit. Beer,

    El Mamerro/lousy decision maker oner
     
  13. 23578

    23578 12oz Elite Member

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    23578 - Replied Aug 5, 2002

    This is pretty neat. I'm thinking law enforcement would be buying these things up. It would be pretty neat to go around with one of these, messing with people, and getting them doing stupid shit on video.
     
    23578 - Rank: 12oz Elite Member - Messages:
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