You know the verbal thanks you give to your bag of Lays for sticking with you through yet another 30 Rock marathon? Don’t be surprised if one day it replies. Turns out, a bag of chips can “hear” everything you say, according to a new paper published by MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe researchers.
“When sound hits an object, it causes the object to vibrate. The motion of this vibration creates a very subtle visual signal that’s usually invisible to the naked eye. People didn’t realize that this information was there,” the lead author Abe Davis, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, said in a press release.
Davis, as well as his colleagues, were able to pick up on these signals when reconstructing the audio from high frequency videos of objects, including potato chip bags, aluminum foil, and glass. The frame rates, or the rate at which each video was shot, varied from 60 to 6,000 per second. And even with the lesser frames, researchers were still able to guess the speaker’s gender, if there was more than one speaker, and the voice’s acoustic properties.
This is to say, researchers can essentially transcribe the audio signals that make an object vibrate. And if any other person has the same tools, they could eavesdrop in the same way. A new age of sleuthing is upon us, and it's delicious.
Watch MIT recreate their paper's results in the video below: