If you like the idea of delivering a modulated electrostatic attraction force to someone’s ear, Disney’s new Ishin-Den-Shin project is just the thing for you. It’s a wireless speaker system that uses your entire body to transmit sound, which you can share with others simply by touching them.
You kind of have to see it to get it:
Once recorded, Disney says, the sound is transformed to an inaudible signal, which you can hear by touching a microphone. The coolest part, however, is that you can share the sound simply by touching someone else, passing along the signal via an electrostatic charge — a high-voltage, low current signal that creates that modulated electrostatic attraction force, which then causes your finger to vibrate slightly and allows you to pass along an audible signal to another person’s ear.
It doesn’t appear, however, to shock participants.
“The sound can be heard only by the specific ear that is touched, as if the finger would be whispering the recorded sounds,” Disney said. “Secrets, messages and whispers can then be transmitted from person to person in physical contact with each other. Bodies become a broadcasting medium for intimate, physical, sound communication.”
Besides just clearly being incredibly cool, it also looks like a great way for students to cheat on tests, if they can just get a modified sound system cobbled together.
The name of the system, Inshin-Den-Shin comes from the Japanese phrase for implicit communication, or unspoken understanding.
“Ishin-Den-Shin lends an unequaled level of intimacy to digital communications,” Ivan Poupyrev, a Disney scientist in Pittsburgh said. “It explores the continued blurring of the boundaries between the human body, the messages we generate, and the world around us. It’s almost as if a person’s finger can whisper in your ear or playback a message hidden in an everyday physical object.”
There’s no word from Disney if this new technology will make its way into any shipping products soon.