Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Researcher claims breakthrough: capturing voices without a mic

Scientists say they have figured out how to decipher a person’s words without relying on a microphone. Rather than lip-reading, a conversation can be understood using a high-speed camera zoomed in on the throat, according to researchers at Waseda University in Tokyo. Yasuhiro Oikawa, who reported his findings at the International Congress on Acoustics earlier this month, said by snapping 10,000 frames per second (a movie projected is typically set at 24) he was able to record every movement that accompanied the sound coming out of a person’s voice box. A computer program then translates these vibrations into sound waves. This goes beyond a transcript of the speaker's word to the subtle inferences in intonation, pitch and volume. This process also has the advantage of weeding out the type of background noise that accompanies microphones.

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