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AudioScope Microphone Singles Out Any Conversation: Big Brother is Listening

Accidentally developed when two University of Oslo physicists were working on sonar technology, the AudioScope is a combination of 300 microphones and wide angle camera that can single out and isolate any singular conversation in a sports venue.

According to the Squarehead Technology website, the AudioScope works similarly to the way the human ear works, though with 298 more avenues of input:

AudioScope is based on the same principle as sonar. A dish with an array of microphones can locate and record sound anywhere in a large room. A speaker’s voice in an auditorium is picked up by all the microphones on the dish. Depending on the position of each microphone, the sound will reach them at a slightly different time. We use this to our advantage. To compensate for this deviation, we add delays to the microphones. Thus we are able to receive the audio from all of the microphones at the same time. When all the adjusted signals are combined we get an amplified signal. This technique is called beam-forming, and when this technique is applied to hundreds of microphones the result is a tremendous signal boost.

The technology has been around for at least two years, seeing as how one of the players on the Phoenix Suns shown in the video, Shawn Marion, was last on the team about two years ago.

As an avid NBA fan who enjoys attending games whenever possible and is already paranoid of being displayed in an embarrassing manner on the big overhead screens, humongous, muscular athletes having the ability to know that I personally badmouthed them for over two hours straight was not something I hoped sports tech would ever achieve. Either way, I’ll worry about seven-foot-tall animosity a little less when this technology inevitably reaches the non-sports sector of society, listening in on me singing in the shower.

(NewScientist via Gizmodo)

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