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Podcast: Woody Norris: Inventing the next amazing thing: Directional Sound

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Podcast length: 13 minutes 49 seconds

Podcast Description

This podcast comes from TED 2004. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It is a conference that has been annual since 1984, and has become one of the most elite technological events on the calendar. Woody Norris shows off two of his inventions that treat sound in new ways, and talks about his untraditional approach to inventing and education, asking others to step up, and invent.

Presenter Biographies

Woody Norris

When Woody Norris won the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2005, his official prize bio called him "a classic independent inventor ... self-educated, self-funded and self-motivated." His mind seems to race toward things the world needs, though we don't know it yet: a nonlethal acoustic weapon that has been used to ward off pirates, a bone-induction headset, radar that can scan the human body, a tapeless tape recorder ... Norris' educational background is a key to his restless mind. He's taken many classes, but always at his own speed and in his own style, studying the things he knew he wanted to know and working closely with professors. Ironically, it's a model that cutting-edge colleges are now embracing.

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Podcast viewing notes

From this talk, Woody immediately comes across like so many of us: a holistic inventor, who gets ideas that shoot off at a tangent, from just about any random thing.

The talk is primarily focussed on demonstrating his new invention 'hypersonic sound'. I.e. Sound that travels faster than sound. It is essentially a way to precisely focus sound, or as he puts it "put sound where you want to." This has obvious implications for 3D sound effects in virtual reality and channelled sound cones in augmented reality.

One use the inventor mentioned was the practical creation of binaural sound for the driver of a car. This is something actively being looked into, now. Other applications discussed include cash points that talk to you but no-one else can hear, and television that can blare at you, but if you step to the side, utter silence.

Additional Research Links

HyperSonic Sound technology

Staff Comments


Untitled Document .