MIT Researchers Create An All-Seeing Ear

Be careful, the plants have ears. Or, more accurately, they are ears. In a boon to eavesdroppers, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out a way to reproduce speech by analyzing the surface vibrations of everyday objects. In one experiment, for example, the researchers shot high-speed video through soundproof glass of a potato chip bag sitting on the floor while a person spoke. While to the naked eye the bag was just a piece of litter, it was actually working like a microphone, infinitesimally vibrating in rhythm with the sound waves hitting it. Using their algorithm, the researchers were then able to reproduce the speech. They got similar results by examining the vibrations in a glass of water, the leaves of potted plants, and a box of tissues.

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