Inventor Creates Soundless Sound System

Discussion in 'Community' started by MacNut, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #1
    Inventor Creates Soundless Sound System
    By TYPH TUCKER, AP

    PORTLAND, Ore. (April 22) - Elwood "Woody" Norris pointed a metal frequency emitter at one of perhaps 30 people who had come to see his invention. The emitter - an aluminum square - was hooked up by a wire to a CD player. Norris switched on the CD player.

    "There's no speaker, but when I point this pad at you, you will hear the waterfall," said the 63-year-old Californian.

    And one by one, each person in the audience did, and smiled widely.

    Norris' HyperSonic Sound system has won him an award coveted by inventors - the $500,000 annual Lemelson-MIT Prize. It works by sending a focused beam of sound above the range of human hearing. When it lands on you, it seems like sound is coming from inside your head.

    Norris said the uses for the technology could come in handy - in cars, in the airport or at home.

    "Imagine your wife wants to watch television and you want to read a book, like the intellectual you are," he said to the crowd. "Imagine you are a lifeguard or a coach and you want to yell at someone, he'll be the only one to hear you."

    Norris holds 47 U.S. patents, including one for a digital handheld recorder and another for a handsfree headset. He said the digital recorder made him an inventor for life.

    "That sold for $5 million," Norris laughed. "That really made me want to be an inventor."

    He demonstrated the sound system at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, also called OMSI, on Thursday.

    Norris began tinkering as an inventor at a young age - taking apart the family radio and putting it back together again. He said ideas come to him when he's driving around or talking with friends.

    "I don't know how I got to be an inventor, but I guess some kids can play the piano, and I can invent."

    Norris will receive the Lemelson-MIT Prize at a ceremony here on Friday.

    One of his most recent patents is for the AirScooter, a personal flying machine designed for commuting. It reaches speeds up to 55 mph and is light enough - under 300 pounds - to not require a license to fly.

    The AirScooter was also on display at OMSI, although Norris didn't fly it.

    The machine has a single seat, a four-stroke engine and is barely 10 feet tall. Its pontoons allow it to land on water. The machine's fiberglass and aluminum construction keeps its weight down. Bike-style handle bars move two helicopter blades, which spin in opposite directions.

    Norris' AirScooter was shown on "60 Minutes" last Sunday. He said since the airing of the show, more than 7 million people have visited the AirScooter's Web site.

    Norris said he and his crew have tested the AirScooter for four years, and he couldn't have created the machine without a skilled group of aeronautics engineers around him.
     
  2. killuminati macrumors 68020

    killuminati

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    #2
    holy crap, that sounds amazing.

    I wonder what the sound quality is like. If there are no speakers I would imagine it being good :confused: Hell I barely understand what he did.
     
  3. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #3
    This phrase:
    is rather disturbing, as it sounds to me similar to how a microwave oven works, by agitating water molecules inside whatever you're cooking. Hopefully they have someone testing the potential long-term effects of being exposed to too much high-power hypersonics.

    Basically, though, the way this works is that the sound is broadcast at a super-high, inaudible frequency. Interference between the hypersonic sound and the air causes the hypersonic sound waves to drop in frequency, becoming regular sound after a certain amount of distance (more distance = more frequency drop). You can "tune" the distance where the sound becomes audible by raising or lowering the initial hypersonic frequency.

    Imagine it like this: If I write your name on a bullet and shoot the bullet in your direction, no one would be able to read the name I have written as it passes them... but when the bullet reaches you, it should have slowed down enough for you to read it (I know how far away you are, so I fire the bullet at the right speed for it to slow down because of air resistance).

    It's certainly ingenious, but I think it will be a long time before anyone has anything like this installed in their house.
     
  4. scem0 macrumors 604

    scem0

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    #4
    Although that sounds amazing, he kind of sounds like an ass :eek:.

    I foresee interested uses of this in the future :).

    scem0
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    I foresee a huge increase in reports of schizophrenia....
     
  6. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #6

    Do you mean split personalities?
     
  7. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #7
    I'm curious to see how this will be misused when it becomes commercially available. One scenario: The Philadelphia Eagles are visiting the Carolina Panthers, Eagles have the ball. Donovan McNabb goes under center, ready to take the snap, when suddenly it sounds (just to him and his center) like they're standing next to a freight train doing 80 MPH. They're so overwhelmed by the sound that McNabb fumbles the ball on the snap. The cause? Three hypersonic sound transmitters, secretly installed around the stadium and disguised as normal PA speakers.
     
  8. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #8
    :D clayj, is that seriously the first use you thought of? Cool.
     
  9. apple2991 macrumors 6502

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  10. zelmo macrumors 603

    zelmo

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    #10
    Wow, that's exactly the same scenario I thought of too, clayj. Or maybe someone planted the thought in my head.. :rolleyes:
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #11
    No, I mean people hearing "voices". Hell, you could turn almost anyone into a "sleeper", come to think of it.
     
  12. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #12
    I heard about this from a guy wearing a tin foil hat about 15 years ago...

    The freaks are going to come out on this one.
     
  13. iGav macrumors G3

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    #13
    exactly what I was thinking... how cool would that be. :p

    Do it! Do it! Do it! :eek: :p :p :p
     
  14. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    ya, i remember hearing about this in Popular Science about five years ago or something, but i was actually just talking to my dad about it about three days ago and i have no idea why it came up, but that's a pretty cool coincidence. ONe thing they mentioned in that article was the terrifying possibility of walking by a coke machine and having the sound of a bottle opening and pouring directed right at you.
    In that article, the inventor (i'm assuming its the same guy) was talking about how he was able to aim this thing out his office window, bounce the sound off a wall and back into the window a floor below him, really messing with his neighbour's head.
     
  15. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #15
    It could be just like the kid in The Shining.
     
  16. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

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    #16
    I'm sure the police and military would love this for their "psy-ops" missions. :eek:

    Maybe idiots of the future who blast rap crap in their cars can blast themselves without rattling my windows when they pass by. :D Same for the people who party late into the night. However, such a sound device would probably be used for harmful and malicious pranks.
     
  17. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #17
    They are already talking about technologies that send ads or coupons to your cell phone or PDA as you pass by a storefront, so now they can beam ads right into your head by focusing just in front of the store.

    A new kind of SUBLbuyIMINAL ADVERpepsiTISING.
     
  18. sorryiwasdreami macrumors 6502a

    sorryiwasdreami

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    #18
    for audiophiles, this would be nirvana. The search has been on for inventing musical equipment that will reproduce the sound made at an actual performance of the sound.

    This invention would make the need for speakers obsolete, thus producing audio which is much clearer than would be otherwise.
     
  19. sorryiwasdreami macrumors 6502a

    sorryiwasdreami

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    #19
    That reminds me of the movie Minority Report.
     
  20. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #20
    yep, and im not looking forward to a future like that either, a bit too creepy to me, i need to watch that movie again
     

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