September 28, 2020

Visual Microphone, a New Technology for day-to-day Objects

visualmic-250x180Technology has stepped at such a height that without it, our life is unimaginable. We use technology in our day today life and it has made our lives much easier as well as simpler. While several technologies are evolving with growing time, agroup of researchers from Microsoft, MIT and Adobe have developeda new technology that converts every day to day object into visual microphones. The researchers developed a visual microphone algorithm which is able to pick up sound by looking for microscopic vibrations in video footage.

We all know that sounds such as voices, music or any other letthe surrounding objects to vibrate. Normally, these vibrations are so refined that they are invisible to our naked eyes.But the team has developed such algorithm that can now analyze these microscopic vibrations from within the video clips in order to reproduce the sound that created them.

Theresearching teams says, “We show how, using only high-speed video of the object, we can extract those minute vibrations and partially recover the sound that produced them, allowing us to turn everyday objects—a glass of water, a potted plant, a box of tissues, or a bag of chips—into visual microphones. We recover sounds from highspeed footage of a variety of objects with different properties, and use both real and simulated data to examine some of the factors that affect our ability to visually recover sound.”

This algorithm has no chance for optical eavesdropping as the experiment got accurate reproduction with specialized camera that shoot at up to 6,000 frames per second (this is much faster than the 60 frames per second which is possible with some smartphones), exploiting the rolling shutter effect in digital cameras to detect sound-related movements that might otherwise be invisible. So a camera which can record at high frame rate is required in order to recover usable data.

Team member Abe Davis says,“We’re recovering sounds from objects. That gives us a lot of information about the sound that’s going on around the object, but it also gives us a lot of information about the object itself, because different objects are going to respond to sound in different ways.” He believes that the visual mic could identify a material’s properties without making contact. This sounds really a clever technology. Let’s see how much hype this tech gets.

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