MIT Researchers Can Recreate A Conversation By Video Recording The Vibrations Of A Potato Chip Bag

August 5, 2014

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Hey! Stop filming my chips.

Researchers at MIT are able to successfully recreate conversations by analyzing the vibrations in a bag of potato chips and use an algorithm to reconstruct the sound waves that caused them. That...is some pretty serious spy shit. Are you getting this, James Bond? James?! Where'd he go? Dammit, please don't be boning the secretary. *Bond emerges from office supply closet, readjusting bow tie* "Sorry, I was just boning the secretary." Why you! God, you're just too suave to stay angry at.

When sound hits an object, it makes distinct vibrations. "There's this very subtle signal that's telling you what the sound passing through is," said Abe Davis, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and first author on the paper. But the movement is tiny - sometimes as small as thousandths of a pixel on video. It's only when all of these signals are averaged, Davis said, that you can extract sound that makes sense. By observing the entire object, you can filter out the noise.


The results are certainly impressive (and a little scary). In one example shown in a compilation video, a bag of chips is filmed from 15 feet away, through sound-proof glass. The reconstructed audio of someone reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in the same room as the chips isn't crystal clear. But the words being said are possible to decipher.

Crazy, right? Unfortunately, I'm afraid this is actually some seriously bad news. You know why? "We're gonna have to start eating Pringles." EXACTLY. And I f***ing hate Pringles.

Keep going for a video of the process in action.

Thanks to Mycropht and Thaylor H, who can read lips. Oh really, then what did I just say? "You didn't say anything, you sneezed." Damn you're gooooood.

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