The company’s research department has produce a technology that is impressive but seemingly lacking in any real purpose.
Named Ishin-Den-Shin (which the BBC notes translates as What the mind thinks, the heart transmits”), the system take advantage of the fact that the brain can interpret vibrations in the skull and “hear” them in the same way as ordinary sound waves traveling down the ear canal.
The system involves speaking into an microphone, with an attached gadget then turning the recording into an inaudible signal. The microphone holder then touches another person on the earlobe. The signal travels through the first person’s body to the fingertip and then on to the second person, who can hear the sound in the same way as if somebody was whispering in their ear.
The technology works by transmitting the signal as an electostatic field, first through a tiny wire wrapped around the microphone and then through the holder’s body. It doesn’t have any obvious effects passing through a person, but when relayed to an earlobe it causes enough vibration to create the sound. It’s the fact that the earlobe is near the skull and suitable for vibration that makes it the point to touch, rather than the fact that it is part of the ear itself.
If you’re wondering how this is going to revolutionize our world and perhaps improve people’s lives, well, you may be disappointed. It seems the most likely next step for the researchers is to try to scale up the technology for use in storytelling. In other words if your kid starts rubbing a lamp in an Aladdin book and touching their ear, or if you go to Disneyland and “Mickey Mouse” sticks his hand on the side of your kid’s face to deliver a secret message, try not to get too freaked out.