Scientists Can Recover Audio From Silent Video With Rolling Shutter

 
This is quite possibly one of the creepiest videos I've seen in a very long time. Scientists can now create audio from the slight motion caused by sound waves found in videos. 
 
With high speed video of an everyday object like a plant of a bag of chips, computers can see the microscopic movement that the sound on an object produces. This software can then turn this movement back into sound. 
 
Luckily most people don't have ultra high speed cameras that can shoot a thousand frames per second laying around but you don't have to. The "rolling shutter" issue that plagues digital cameras can also give a computer enough information to reproduce sound. Soon, video cameras will be to film us in public places and by simply looking at the objects around us, hear what we are saying. 
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24 Comments

That is freaky! Technology just doesn't have limits I suppose.

Peter House's picture

Tin foil hats can't help us now!

I'm pretty sure they used this on Fringe! That is crazy!

Jaron Schneider's picture

Walter's tech in the real world!

Jaron Schneider's picture

WHAT. Oh my gosh that's crazy!!

Nick Auskeur's picture

That's bonkers!

Brandon Adam's picture

This is amazing. I love Science.

Josh Robertson's picture

This appears to be a video variant of of a decades-old technique used by intel agencies of listening in via vibrating window panes measured with lasers. If you really want your tin foil hats to catch on fire, search on Laser Microphone.

Very clever!

Patrick Hall's picture

I wonder how air movement from wind, air conditioning, people walking around affect these frequencies. If the vibration of someone screaming mary had a little lamb can be recorded then surely normal variations in ambient air movement would completely randomize the "fingerprint" and make this very difficult to decipher.

Lee Morris's picture

I don't think wind would make it "vibrate" It would make a plant sway. I would imagine that you could separate swaying from vibration but who knows.

Patrick Hall's picture

I expect this new technology to be used on Ghost Hunters next season. Finally we should have some better scientific proof that paranormal activity exists

I think it just adds some background noise, like any mic not shielded from wind. You can hear it in the recording around at 1:15 in the video.

Jason Ranalli's picture

I think all the other things going on in an environment such as you mention would add to the overall noise level making what you're truly after tougher to isolate...but this is creepy no doubt. Something I never thought of to be honest.

Austin Burke's picture

I just don't get audio, its crazy what it can do. Technology will never stop amazing me.

Adam Ottke's picture

This is made even creepier thanks to the Mary Had A Little Lamb routine. It's always the little kids' stuff that sparks your worst horror nightmares/films, etc....

Bo Bickley's picture

Although a cool and interesting article, I think this now falls into the category of Science Non-Fiction. The Keyhole Recon satellite that was launched over 30 years ago could resolve down to 5" to 6" from space. A lot of technology has happened since then. Let the conspiracy theories begin....

Kristjan Järv's picture

They should try this on some movie, see what was acually doing on the set :D

John Skinner's picture

This is just a step up from the older tech the NSA and CIA has been using for over a decade. They've used lasers to hit a flat surface (glass) and were able to record audio through the reflections of that laser bouncing back to the emitter. Essentially being able to bug a room without having a bug placed inside that room. If they're not using this now.... they will be.

Spy Black's picture

Not really. That's an analog process. Nowadays it may be supplemented by digital post, but that technique dates back practically to the first lasers in the 60s. This is pure digital data processing. Conceptually it's similar, but it's an entirely different beast.

Jozef Povazan's picture

These things had been done for years by "agencies" in many countries so there are even more sophisticated methods IMO which will be revealed once they are old again :) nice though

Spy Black's picture

I wonder if you could use a variation of this technique on old silent film sped up. For instance, the JFK assassination footage. That would be interesting, ay? ;-)

Chris Blair's picture

Love science.

It is like a scene right out of the Eagle Eye movie. Proof that technology in movies isn't all that far fetched!