Disney’s Human Speaker

Imagine if you could simply touch someone’s ear to make them hear something. A project out of Disney Research makes it possible.

Disney Research has crossed these wires in a project called Ishin-Den-Shin (a Japanese expression for communicating through an unspoken mutual understanding).

Developed by Olivier Bau, Ivan Poupyrev, and Yuri Suzuki, the system records sounds through a device fitted to the microphone that creates a “modulated electrostatic field” around the user’s skin. When touching another person’s ear, this modulated electrostatic field creates a very small vibration of the earlobe. As a result, both the finger and the ear together form a speaker, that makes the signal audible for the person touched.

The inaudible signal can be transmitted from body to body, using any sort of physical contact. The recorded sound can be heard only by the specific ear touched.

And since it’s just electricity, you can even have someone chained in the middle of the sender and receiver.