The Hypersonic Soundbeam
Dec 11, 2007 3:47 am
From Marcus Estes in WFMU Beware of the Blog:
After years of reading puff pieces about the coming of the "Hypersonic Soundbeam," a device designed to send targeted blasts of sound waves that can be heard only be selected recipients in an audio environment, it has apparently made its debut in the public sphere, right here in New York. As part of a billboard marketing campaign for a television show.
A&E has placed a billboard (on Prince St. between Mulberry and Mott) that shoots sound waves designed to resonate against your head, giving the passerby a distinct feeling that the advertisement is arising from within their skull. The television show is is about ghosts, so that means this is a witty kind of progressive marketing stunt and not just totally fucking creepy, right?
IRI Technologies, one of the many companies vending this device to the industry, highlights the invention's utility like so: "The Hypersonic Sound Waves travel silently through space, up to 300 feet away, then convert into an instant sound source whatever surface they impact. Amazingly, if you aim this magical device at a person, their head will become a speaker, and they will hear your message "inside" their head."
The patent owner of this little baby is an American Solo Maverick Inventor in the old model - he cooked this idea up and built a prototype without the help of a corporate research team. Woody Norris is, as an interview posted to his website will have you know, "no techno nerd." And he's humble about the source of his inspirations, observing that, "I didn't invent that [medical sonar imaging device]. It happens and I observed it. And so I claimed it. You know what inventing is -- I heard this from somebody else -- 'It's an accident observed."
So once you have "accidentally" invented this mind-sound-beam patent, what do you do with it? The advertising market seems to have been on his mind long before he brought this market. "To Norris's way of thinking, however, a shop with 100 confined spheres of sound is preferable to one where 12 speakers are blaring over each other." I guess that's the logic of the needle exchange as well: If they're going to be doing it anyway, we might as well keep it neat. Well, this new mind-wave billboard sure is neat, huh? Fuck, could we work on a way to just beam the whole TV show right into my skull as I'm walking past?