Disney develops ‘magical’ device to make fingertips sing.”

Ishin-Den-Shin / Olivier Bau, Ivan Poupyrev, Y...

Ishin-Den-Shin / Olivier Bau, Ivan Poupyrev, Yuri Suzuki (Photo credit: Ars Electronica)

I always thought that folk-singers put fingers in their ears to block out the sound of the singer next to them but perhaps they have known about this phenomenon since time immemorial – perhaps the finger in the ear creates a positive feedback loop for them.  Anyway we may be witnessing the start of a new cultural trend as we go around plugging into strangers’ ears!


Lend Me Your Ears

Friends, roaming internetmen,
lend me your ears.
Antony it appears
seemed to know, so long ago.
Or maybe Shakespeare had gotten it right,
had had the foresight
in Mark Antony’s speech –
a peach of a revelation.
Perhaps he presaged the age,
setting the stage
for digital communication.

“Digital’s” the key.
You see, you and me,
we just talk, listen and hear.
But Disney have invented
the ‘whispering finger’,
transmitting sound from finger to ear.
Inaudible sounds flow down you arm;
causing no harm they pass through your wrist,
twist down to your hand
not pausing to linger
‘til reaching the tip of your digital finger.

Now touch someone’s ear
and what you create
is something to freak you,
something so geeky,
a new form of speaker
where the earlobe vibrates
and its owner can hear
the message you’ve sent down your arm.

“What the mind thinks,
the heart transmits.”
So lend me your ears.

10th September 2013 – headline from the BBC

Notes:  “Disney develops ‘magical’ device to make fingertips sing.”  Disney has developed a device to transmit sound through the human body.  The Ishin-Den-Shin technology uses a standard microphone to record audio and then converts it into an inaudible signal transmitted through the body of the person holding the microphone.  When they touch someone’s earlobe, an organic speaker is formed and the sound becomes audible, effectively whispering a message into that person’s ear.  The sound can be passed from person to person using any physical contact.  The technology, which was developed at Disney Research in Pittsburgh, received an honorary mention at this week’s Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria.  Ishin-Den-Shin is a Japanese mantra that translates as, “What the mind thinks, the heart transmits,” and represents unspoken mutual understanding.


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