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Disney’s Ishin-Denshin project turns your body into an audio transmitter

While the consumer electronics space continues to play with the idea of bone conduction for audio transmission without sticking something in your ear, Disney Research has created something they call Ishin-Denshin to send audio from person-to-person by touching the recipients ear.

A whisper into the ear is the most personal, intimate form of communication there is. It requires two people to be so close that only the sender and recipient can hear what is going on. Of course, that’s only partially true. Lips can be read, audio can be captured, and whispers can be accidentally overheard.

Ishin-Denshin is a Japanese mantra which literally translates to “what the mind thinks, the heart transmits.” It describes a form of communication more personal than a whisper, and Disney Research has taken this mantra and translated it to a literal form with a technology that allows high voltage, low power sound to be transmitted through one body and into the body of another person.

While the consumer electronics space continues to play with the idea of bone conduction for audio transmission without sticking something in your ear, Disney Research has created something they call Ishin-Denshin to send audio from person-to-person by touching the recipients ear.

A whisper into the ear is the most personal, intimate form of communication there is. It requires two people to be so close that only the sender and recipient can hear what is going on. Of course, that’s only partially true. Lips can be read, audio can be captured, and whispers can be accidentally overheard.

Ishin-Denshin is a Japanese mantra which literally translates to “what the mind thinks, the heart transmits.” It describes a form of communication more personal than a whisper, and Disney Research has taken this mantra and translated it to a literal form with a technology that allows high voltage, low power sound to be transmitted through one body and into the body of another person.

In Disney’s demonstration, a young woman speaks into a microphone and pauses for a moment. Those sounds are captured by the computer at the other end of the microphone, which is then turned into a loop sent into a amplification driver. This looped sound is now inaudible, and passed back to the metal casing of the microphone. The young woman, who just spoke into the microphone, is now having that audio fed into her body for as long as she is holding the microphone. She can now reach out to her partner and touch him. When this happens the finger and the ear vibrate and form a speaker, and the recipient can now hear what is being transmitted.

This experiment opens an interesting door for how certain kinds of audio are absorbed. The ability to transmit audio of any kind from person to person is a fun thing to think about, but ultimately only useful if you are able to create a setup where touching someone’s ear is appropriate.

Disney Research has been responsible for impressive strides in human-like robotics, as well as many other fields or research. It will be very interesting to see what happens next with Ishin-Denshin. 

2013-09-20, Geek, Russell Holly.


Keywords: electronics, Disney

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