You’ll not find another speaker system like the one presented by three designers and scientists working with Disney Research this week going by the name Ishin-Den-Shin. This expression means to communicate with an unspoken mutual understanding, and is humble in the face of the actual electric transmission this system is able to work with. All it takes is a special microphone, a whisper, and a touch with a hand – and the hand and someone’s ear become the speaker.
This system works with an electrical signal transmitted through the microphone (after you’ve spoken to it), through your body, and into the ear of the 3rd party recipient. As Olivier Bau, Ivan Poupyrev, and Yuri Suzuki show, this system isn’t limited to two people – the first can chain-link a set of users between them and the listening party as well. Have a peek at this demonstration video to see what it’s all about.
This system does require a bit of physical technology and a bit of software, but it’s all rather simple when it comes down to it. The modulated electrostatic field created with this system requires only a sound to start with, then a physical object to transmit the sound.
“The Ishin-Den-Shin system includes a handheld microphone connected to a computer. When someone speaks into the microphone, the computer turns the sound into a looped recording. The recording is then converted into high-voltage, low-current inaudible signal that flows into a thin wire connected to the interior of the microphone.
This looped, inaudible signal creates a modulated electrostatic field produces a very small vibration of a finger touching an object, forming a speaker.” – Dr. Ivan Poupyrev
As you’ll be able to see in Dr. Ivan Poupyrev’s presentation page for this project, he is currently directing an Interaction Group at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, where this project was developed. The presentation here works with a modified Shure 55 microphone connected with an additional customized record button and an additional connector, transmitted at high voltage, low current (~300 Vpp, ~50 mA) signal through the metal casing of the device and through the object to the ear that’ll hear it.
What Disney is planning to do with this technology?
“We are not a liberty to discuss business plans of the Walt Disney Company.” – Ivan Poupyrev
We look forward to this transmission technique to appear in the near future in devices of all kinds. We’ve seen similar oddities appear in bone conduction as well as Smart Sonic Receiver Technology from Kyocera, appearing most recently in the Kyocera Hydro Elite.