Communication has become easier with the growth of smartphones and other connected devices that always keep us in the know. If you’re trying to communicate with someone across the room, but you can’t yell or talk directly to them, you may need a helpful device. Particularly if the person you want to talk to doesn’t have a phone on them.
This spy like technology comes from researchers at MIT who have come up with an invention that allows users to beam an audible message into a specific person’s ear using a laser.
Ryan Sullenberger, a researcher on the project, says, “We have demonstrated that an eye-safe laser will heat the water molecules in the air, via the well-known photoacoustic effect, to create a local sound. We have also leveraged the special behaviors that occur at the speed of sound to help us amplify and localize the sound. If we rotate our laser beam, we can localize the sound not only along the laser path, but also isolate a specific range—the one at which the beam is moving at the speed of sound—at which the signal is amplified to an audible level.”
Communicating via laser is rather unorthodox and won’t work as well unless both people have the same equipment to communicate back and forth. While calling or texting someone is still the preferred method of communication, this laser tech may come in handy during situations where using phones isn’t safe. In dangerous situations, getting someone’s attention without causing alarm could save lives.
Currently, the laser is capable of sending sounds up to 60 decibels with a distance of 2.5 m. Researchers are hoping to expand that moving forward. “We are [next] hoping to make measurements at longer ranges [of around] 100 to 500 m, outside, to better understand issues that might occur outside of a controlled laboratory setting,” says Sullenberger. “We are currently working on patenting the technology and would love to engage with interested parties.”
Filed Under: Product design