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Cone of Silence 2.0

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the would-you-believe-you-will-no-longer-be-able-to-hear-me dept.

Privacy 91

Village Idiot sends word of a patent granted to MIT researchers for a cone of silence a la Maxwell Smart. This one doesn't use plastic, but rather active and networked sensors and speakers embedded in a (probably indoor) space such as an open-plan office. "In 'Get Smart,' secret agents wanting a private conversation would deploy the 'cone of silence,' a clear plastic contraption lowered over the agents' heads. It never worked — they couldn't hear each other, while eavesdroppers could pick up every word. Now a modern cone of silence that we are assured will work is being patented by engineers Joe Paradiso and Yasuhiro Ono of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ... Instead of plastic domes, they use a sensor network to work out where potential eavesdroppers are, and speakers to generate a subtle masking sound at just the right level. ... The array of speakers... aims a mix of white noise and randomized office hubbub at the eavesdroppers. The subtle, confusing sound makes the conversation unintelligible." One comment thread on the article wonders about the propriety of tracking people around an office in order to preserve privacy.

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91 comments

Solution looking for a problem. (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898397)

Just go into your office and CLOSE THE DOOR.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (4, Funny)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898407)

I raise your closed office door by 1 hidden mic.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27898439)

I raise your hidden mic by 1 masturbating gorilla.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (4, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898507)

That is about the last and final indicator that you should find another job - when a masturbating gorilla gets a raise but you are skipped over.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898545)

happens all the time where I work. Typically they get a promotion, too.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27898563)

I dunno, I'd feel kinda bad for the gorilla if he couldn't get a raise.

Wait... what are we talking about?

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

xarak (458209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899173)

Well, seems technically difficult in any case.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27898747)

I raise your hidden mic by 1 masturbating gorilla.

I don't see what niggers have to do with it.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (5, Insightful)

rxmd (205533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898519)

I raise your closed office door by 1 hidden mic.

From the summary:

they use a sensor network to work out where potential eavesdroppers are

And from the article:

Knowing the position of the computer, the sensors identify the person and map out the locations of people around them. Software assesses who is so close that they must be participants in the conversation, and who might be a potential eavesdropper.

Good luck using this to defeat hidden microphones. And if you can identify the location of hidden microphones, you don't need a cone of silence to defeat them.

This is more like a surrogate closed office door for offices without doors. Whether that makes much sense as a whole remains another matter.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898957)

This is more like a surrogate closed office door for offices without doors. Whether that makes much sense as a whole remains another matter.

What if you could place a number of small devices [amazon.com] in a public space and gain the freedom to speak there without being overheard?

I agree that the issue of needing to locate listeners is a big issue. But there are, I suppose, potential uses still.

Max and Harry Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27917555)

What if you could place a number of small devices [amazon.com] in a public space and gain the freedom to speak there without being overheard?

I agree that the issue of needing to locate listeners is a big issue. But there are, I suppose, potential uses still.

Max: Do you mean there could have been as many as fifty devices in this room as long as only 2 were listeners?

Harry Hoo: That's right Mr Smart.

Max: Wow. It must have been really crowded in here.

Harry Hoo: Amazing!

use case for hidden mics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27899017)

Good luck using this to defeat hidden microphones. And if you can identify the location of hidden microphones, you don't need a cone of silence to defeat them.

Not necessarily.

If you find the mics you may want to leave them in-place. This way you can let them listen in on conversations that are unimportant and feed them false information on sensitive areas. The cone could then be activated during times when you want real confidentiality. Or perhaps activate the cone for your talking, and sending out a pre-recorded signal of innocuous things to mask your real activity.

Leaving the hidden mic in place while you trace the receiver could also be useful if you don't know who your adversary is.

Re:use case for hidden mics (1)

CZakalwe (1444421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899901)

I've suddenly got this overwhelming urge to put Iron into incognito mode :)

Re:use case for hidden mics (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901897)

Or perhaps activate the cone for your talking, and sending out a pre-recorded signal of innocuous things to mask your real activity.

Asimov had a similar device in one of the Foundation books whereby when one of his characters wanted privacy, he'd activate a screen that generated small office-y noises and quiet inane conversation. Much more effective than dead silence, leading to awkward "what are you hiding?" type questions.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898537)

Errect a small tent in the office go inside and use ASL (American Sign Language). Simple and cheap.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27898621)

What about infrared cameras?

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (4, Funny)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898761)

Suround it with space heaters.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (3, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898727)

I wouldn't say that learning ASL exactly counts as simple. (Fun though... I took a semester of it in college just for the hell of it and it was pretty neat.)

But you could easily substitute "write what you want to say on paper, then shred it".

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (4, Informative)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898771)

The best thing about learning ASL is that most of the students are female.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27898851)

The best thing about learning ASL is that most of the students are female.

So they assume you're a fag when they see you in their class? Yeah, uh, that's wonderful, uh huh.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (3, Funny)

RawsonDR (1029682) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898853)

The best thing about learning ASL is that most of the students are female.

No, they are only saying that. They are actually old, overweight bald men who use the internet to live out their fantasies.

a/s/l?

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901905)

The best thing about learning ASL is that most of the students are female.

And 13, and live in California?

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27904563)

The best thing about learning ASL is that most of the students are female.

What is the chance of them giving you a phone number?

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905007)

From my experience quite good. You see I married one of them...

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

ozydingo (922211) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907605)

Cued speech [cuedspeech.org] , however, is quite simple to learn. Everything you need to know can fit on one sheet of paper [pdf] [cuedspeech.org] . Wouldn't say it beats "write what you want to say" for this purpose though.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898751)

What is that in metric?

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (3, Informative)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898619)

That won't help you against one of these.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabolic_microphone [wikipedia.org]

I happen to live in a small town, which doesn't have a lot of noise polution. One of my Uncles was a cop, and showed me a Parabolic Mic when I was younger. The thing lets you hear conversations inside a house an entire block away!

Whenever I see TV shows where _EvilCorporation_ goes to the effort to bug a house with tiny mics, and there's a black van(or icecream truck!) sitting outside all the time, I can't help but laugh.

If they want to know what you're saying, they don't have to get close to you or your house to do so!

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899599)

Regarding the parabolic mic: What if there is a lot of noise pollution? Wouldn't be a big problem? Any noises bouncing off the house in question can easily mask what's going on inside.

Though bugging the house wouldn't have to mean having to be nearby if you have good receivers.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900413)

Bah! If my grandfather was alive, you could hear him over the phone... held by someone a block away from his house. He wasn't deaf, he was mad.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 5 years ago | (#27903885)

That won't help you against one of these.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabolic_microphone [wikipedia.org]

I happen to live in a small town, which doesn't have a lot of noise polution. One of my Uncles was a cop, and showed me a Parabolic Mic when I was younger. The thing lets you hear conversations inside a house an entire block away!

I guess if you did see someone pointing one at your house, the solution would be to get a another parabolic dish, aim it back at them, position yourself at the focal point and then SCREAM!!. That should make them take their earphones off in a hurry :-)

Obligatory XKCD (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27904305)

Seems pretty apt [xkcd.com] .

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27904579)

You can also apply an ingenious mixed solution [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

meuhlavache (1101089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898859)

Or just shut your mouth...

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

meuhlavache (1101089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27911035)

before the troll mod point: [...] at office!

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898885)

Just go into your office and CLOSE THE DOOR.

Hardly helpful when (laser, I think) beam focused on your office window can effectively turn it into a remote speaker. However, something that negates the sound waves generated by your words might just solve that. Probably not -- probably, if you can a monitor a laser beam, you can monitor it fast enough to detect the difference between sounds as said, and sounds after negation. But it's a start.

I'd be much more interested in something like this around the engine of my car. I think some of the high-end companies like Mercedes were looking at that use years ago. Some car company, at least. Slashdot carried a story recently saying that silent cars were to be illegal (due to risk of accidents) in one jurisdiction though, which would really suck.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898969)

There's an instructable showing how to make a laser mic like this for under $50 iirc.
Leaning an electric toothbrush against the window may work well enough to defeat it ofc.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900047)

Better yet, just turn on the CD player and put in Yoko Ono.

I can guarantee you that no one will want to stay around and listen to your conversation.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901075)

Office? Door? What a curious world you do live in.

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (1)

robertintexas (1482967) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905593)

Sorry, I don't recall an agent named "Retief" in Get Smart. Was he a Control agent or KAOS agent? Was he like Hymie or human? Either way, you would fail the stringent testing and mental evaluation that all Control agents must pass to become one of the few...the proud...the Control Agents. "Go in your office and close the door." What nonsense is that?!?!?! Looks like you missed it... by THAT much. B-)

Re:Solution looking for a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27909169)

And some of us are expected to manage a team of engineers WITHOUT A DOOR. This sounds good to me.

I'd imagine... (5, Funny)

ViennaLen (1483851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898459)

Agents: "Can you hear me now?"
Eavesdroppers: "...... No.."

Fly on the wall.. (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898487)

a sensor network to work out where potential eavesdroppers are...the array of speakers... aims a mix of white noise and randomized office hubbub at the eavesdroppers

How do you point your white noise at a hidden mic or two? Or three...

I have a feeling that if this device ever sees the light of day, that it will stay true to the legacy of the device it was named after.

Re:Fly on the wall.. (3, Insightful)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899345)

Absolutely!

What's worst is the device works by surrounding your secret meeting with an array of discreet sensors (aka, microphones). So if two or three extra microphones were to appear in the room, no one would suspect a thing.

I guess it would work for the random passerby...

Re:Fly on the wall.. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899617)

And the data used to generate the white noise, recorded or broadcast via bluetooth or other technology, is an excellent source of wiretapping data.

This idea is like curbing teenage violence by giving them all shotguns.

Re:Fly on the wall.. (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901193)

This idea is like curbing teenage violence by giving them all shotguns.

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, as the majority of the USA seems to follow this logic, and the rest of the West think that they're idiots for it.

Re:Fly on the wall.. (1)

archermadness (784657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27904999)

Not to mention that you have no assurances that the mics that *are* supposed to be there as part of the system aren't being used to surreptitiously monitor and record your conversation.

They had to use a cloud of supercomputers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27898511)

To process the audio so eavesdroppers could hear with crystal clarity while the actual conversants could hear only static.

This is just another example of technology turning sci-fi into reality.

Up next for these guys is Hymie.

POB (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898553)

Yasuhiro Ono and the plastic domes are no more?

Lovely (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898599)

The Baron Harkonnen will be quite pleased.

So, basicly... (1)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898665)

It's an expensive version of turning the radio up.

Fricken Laser Beams (4, Informative)

SteveTauber (996603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898669)

Don't forget folks: if you are speaking in a room with windows, a laser can be pointed at the windows to pick up on vibrations due to conversation. http://www.google.com/search?q=laser+window+eavesdrop [google.com]

Re:Fricken Laser Beams (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898845)

Or if your running low on lasers, lip reading will do just fine.

Re:Fricken Laser Beams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900597)

Or if your running low on lasers, lip reading will do just fine.

Only if the people you're eavesdropping on are visible.

Re:Fricken Laser Beams (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901919)

If you're up against the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen you probably have worse problems than figuring out what the invisible man is saying.

Re:Fricken Laser Beams (1)

mjensen (118105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900757)

Except for the people who put vibration inducers on the windows.....

I know some of these people.

Re:Fricken Laser Beams (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901267)

Only a problem if you're near shark-infested water.

Wow! Could submarines use this . . . ? (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898691)

. . . you can bet your hairy ass they do! They generate sound to exactly cancel out the sound of their propellers.

. . . so that sound cancellation technology on your ear buds was pioneered/sponsored by the DoD back in the early '60s. It even used some of that newfangled "transistor" technology.

Maybe the "Get Smart" gag was just misinformation to convince the Russians that the idea was asinine and would never work?

Re:Wow! Could submarines use this . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27899043)

Maybe the "Get Smart" gag was just misinformation to convince the Russians that the idea was asinine and would never work?

Well, it did work, as they couldn't hear each other...

Re:Wow! Could submarines use this . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27899247)

>Maybe the "Get Smart" gag was just misinformation to convince the Russians that the idea was asinine and would never work?
It was. (citation needed, but we all know it is true)

Noise cancellation, such a won...... ......

Re:Wow! Could submarines use this . . . ? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899313)

The CIA actually investigated Get Smart a couple of times, since some of their stuff was disturbingly close to things used in real intelligence operations. (Including, ironically enough, the shoe phone, although the US didn't know about it at that point)

If I recall correctly, the original cone of silence prop was purchased by the CIA at the conclusion of the show's run.

Re:Wow! Could submarines use this . . . ? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899439)

haha, you're a regular urban legend factory.

what IS true is that some of the gadgets from spy shows including "Get Smart" were shown along side of real spy gear an exhibit in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Re:Wow! Could submarines use this . . . ? (1)

CrazyChinaman (1545801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27903709)

Except sound cancellation isn't what they're talking about here. FTFA: The array of speakers then aims a mix of white noise and randomised office hubbub at the eavesdroppers. The subtle, confusing sound makes the conversation unintelligible. White noise and random office hubbub is NOT an inverse waveform...

i just got off the toilet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27898785)

i shit out an obama.

plop!

Re:i just got off the toilet (0, Offtopic)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898841)

FFS noob! Everybody knows the SI unit for a shit is the couric!

Shit... (3, Funny)

meuhlavache (1101089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898819)

The array of speakers... aims a mix of white noise and randomized office hubbub at the eavesdroppers.

And what if they use brown note?

If a tree falls in a forest... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898829)

This dont make silence, but try to turn deaf what they think are the potential listeners. Is like putting a photo of a sunset in front of a specific vigilance camera.

There was a old sci-fi story about a similar device, that did something like echoes the sound with a delay to make the sound waves cancel and make silence. That wouldnt work in real world, but if is the same basic idea could the patent be challenged?

Re:If a tree falls in a forest... (1)

ngibbins (88512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898911)

The story is Arthur C. Clarke's 1954 short Silence Please, included in his anthology Tales from the White Hart. The science isn't too bad; this is essentially how noise-cancelling headphones work.

Re:If a tree falls in a forest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27899277)

Only noise cancellation could be challenged. This device also added "office hubbub" which makes it more of a disguiser. It's akin to the suits the agents wear in "A Scanner Darkly" if you've seen that.

Just creates a new vector for eavesdropping (1)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898865)

This just means that instead of overhearing by ear, you can now plant a listening device in the machine generating the interference signals and rather easily infer what's being said from the interference generated. After all, they're basically doing Bose-like noise-cancellation, which means the generation of an inverse-wavelength signals-- which can easily be reversed into intelligible signals. That means the machine is constantly sampling what they're saying in order to cancel it out, which means a bug in the machine can now transmit the entire conversation. So, I'm not sure they're doin' it right. The single most secure way to have a secret conversation is still to show up together in secret in a crowded venue and essentially whisper in each other's ear. Concerts work too.

Re:Just creates a new vector for eavesdropping (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27903343)

No, they're not, according to TFR. They are applying white noise to drown the information, making the office even noisier. Great...

Less "Get Smart," more Dune... (2, Informative)

solios (53048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27898993)

It's been a ridiculously long time since I read Frank Herbert's Dune (or any of its sequels), but I remember at least one of the books had a couple of scenes with a "cone of silence" much along these lines.

Anyone inside the field could communicate with each other; anyone outside the field couldn't hear them. For added security, the conversants would face the inner wall (iirc the "cone of silence" was walled on three sides) to prevent lip-reading - something that this approach to the idea doesn't cover.

Of course, there's nothing preventing you from simply holding your hand over your mouth...

I wonder about the quality of the workplace. (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899185)

Judging by the descripton this device apparently operates by beaming additional sound at the people who are not supposed to be in a conversation, rather than attempting to cancel the conversation at their ears. So this is a selective noise generator.

It's equivalent to creating enough background noise to drown out the conversations, but doing it selectively at the ears of the victims. Of course this means increasing, rather than decreasing, the noise level of the environment, and doing so with snippets of conversation that can ALMOST be understood - resulting in increased stress both from the high level of noise and the failed processing in the victims' brains.

Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Village Idiot sounds about right (1)

psxndc (105904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899223)

Village Idiot sends word of a patent granted to MIT researchers

The patent application published. It was not granted. It hasn't even been examined yet. Patent applications usually haven't by this point - examination happens 2-3 years after application. It is a simple procedure Slashdot; why can't you seem to wrap your head around it? I'll write it very BASICally so you can understand:

10 Patent is applied for.

20 It publishes at 18 months regardless if any examination is performed

30 The patent office examines the patent

35 If determined to be patentable (regardless of what slashdotters think, GOTO 50, else reject it

40 Applicant amends the claims to make it narrower. GOTO 30.

50 Patent is allowed

60 Issue Fee paid

70 Patent is granted.

There, you can easily refer to this when reporting in the future. Slashdot is consistently WRONG on how it reports on whether a patent is granted/published/applied for and I would really expect more from a site that prides itself on being intelligent and for intelligent people. See the recent story on IBM allegedly "getting" a patent on the 40-minute meeting (hint, they didn't. It hasn't been examined yet).

Re:Village Idiot sounds about right (1)

cailith1970 (1325195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901127)

I think there are some problems with your code - there is a compile error on line 35 with an open bracket, and line 40 can never be executed with the conditional as specified in line 35. :)

Point taken though, a patent application is NOT a patent. There must be so much prior art on this concept, I can't see how it could be patentable.

Consultant speak... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899675)

...is the ultimate cone of silence. Everyone can hear you but no one can understand you, and you can always claim you've been misinterpreted. Best of all it doesn't require any technology and it doesn't ever break down.

useful technology (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899787)

This tech would kick ass in the studio, or perhaps the theatre or practice room

Re:useful technology (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901289)

This tech would kick ass in the studio, or perhaps the theatre or practice room

Maybe if you wanted a recording with a deliberately high noise floor (a.k.a. "crappy recording"), or a very distracting performance/rehearsal. I would say to RTFA, but it's not worth it anyways.

Herman Miller's "Babble" (1)

caprid (1551703) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899915)

Doesn't Herman Miller already offer a product that does something similar? http://www.bfionline.com/babble/ [bfionline.com]

Home noise cancelling (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27899923)

I want something that cancels street noise inside my home. Is such a device available?

Re:Home noise cancelling (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900221)

Yes...earplugs.

Re:Home noise cancelling (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900451)

Bose makes a set of noise canceling headphones which does this.

mix of white noise and randomized office hubbub? (1)

Nyckname (240456) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900163)

Why not an inverse wave form of the actual conversation?

Re:mix of white noise and randomized office hubbub (1)

ozydingo (922211) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906245)

Because it wouldn't work. First off, any error in the produced waveform, including latency which is unavoidable, and you're no longer fully canceling the sound--in fact you may be amplifying it at some frequencies. Also, unless the generated sound is coming from the same location as the to-be-canceled sound, then the phase difference (cancellation) depends on the listeners location, and again you will be selectively amplifying certain frequencies at certain locations.

Cone of silence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900253)

Speak low when you speak, love
Our summer day withers away too soon, too soon
Speak low when you speak, love
Our moment is swift, like ships adrift, we're swept apart, too soon
Speak low, darling, speak low
Love is a spark, lost in the dark too soon, too soon
I feel wherever I go that tomorrow is near, tomorrow is here and always too soon
Time is so old and love so brief
Love is pure gold and time a thief
We're late, darling, we're late
The curtain descends, ev'rything ends too soon, too soon
I wait, darling, I wait
Will you speak low to me, speak love to me and soon

Re:Cone of silence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27903259)

how low?

Shower Spray (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900495)

1. Just go into a bathroom,
2. turn on the Shower spray,
3. then you can have your private conversation,
4. Profit . . .

Old news... kinda (1)

radiosac (1364217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901105)

Masking systems have been used for years in courtrooms and banks to keep people from hearing things they shouldn't. When the lawyers approach the bench, they turn on the system and it allows them to have a private conversation while the jury can't here it. Masking systems are also used in conjunction with paging/background music systems, and if it was installed properly, you don't even realize that you are listening to filtered white noise. No fancy "sensors" or crazy DSP (ok,just a little DSP).

TROOLKORE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901233)

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Saw a demo (1)

BurzumNazgul (1163509) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908183)

I saw a demo of something very similar in 2006 at a medical technology convention. The basic idea was that when your ear is flooded with similar sound your brain cannot interpret the actual words of the conversation you're trying to listen to. They would record your voice, and then their software would chop it into random increments and play six simultaneous layers back over speakers. You could then have a phone conversation without people being able to understand what you were saying. It worked quite well and the sound wasn't any more annoying than someone on the phone.

Close (1)

javamann (410973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27911615)

And I was 'That' close to inventing this myself.

Sounds like overpriced crap to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27912253)

So what we have is some white noise thrown in a blender with audio clips of office chit chat. How about instead we tune a radio to some static, or maybe stand by some running water, a big office fountain or something.

Just keep the white noise loud enough that s/n ratio suck for any equipment trying to parse out the conversation.

I'll leave you to your own creativity how best to insert some office hubub.

Or buy their shit.

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