Audio Spotlight To Focus Sound

from the very-cool dept

The NY Times has an article about some research that is being done on an audio spotlight that can focus pinpointed sound to certain locations. There are a bunch of practical applications, such as targeted audio advertising in supermarkets (yes, your own personal audio spam to follow you around) or allowing people in a car to each listen to a different radio station. It’s also cool to see that the main researcher behind this concept kept pursuing it after plenty of universities told him it couldn’t be done. I hope those people who said no to him are always forced to listen to country music in cars where they have no option to listen to something else.

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Comments on “Audio Spotlight To Focus Sound”

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mhh5 says:


The other way to read NYT articles w/o registering is to head to the “NYT backdoor“. I think all you need to do is replace ‘www’ with ‘channel’ in the URL…. and BINGO, there’s the article w/o registering…. Now maybe Mike should link to that URL to begin with, but maybe he’s trying to bolster the NYT and not piss them off…. Mike doesn’t like legal problems or his primary sources pissed off at him.

Mike (profile) says:


Wow. Pat, you are just in a pissed off mood this morning. I even explained this yesterday.

Plenty of people read the NY Times. If you don’t want to, then don’t. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop linking to it. If you resent having to register… then don’t. And don’t read the story, but don’t blame ME for your decision.

Here was yesterday’s explanation and I stick by it:

“Ok, I’ve explained this one a number of times. I link to NY Times stories even though they require a registration, because it’s popular enough that almost everyone knows how to get in somehow or another. Either they’ve registered themselves (most people) or they know one of the hundreds of “well known” username/password combos that lots and lots and lots of people use.

I probably post to 4 or 5 NY Times articles per week, and once every three or four months someone suddenly gets it into their head that I’m causing them a problem. If you don’t like it, don’t go to the site, but don’t make me feel bad for finding news that’s interesting.”

Pat Stakem says:

Re: Re: NYT


I appreciate you looking across the spectrum
of knowledge, which is low entropy, and pointing
us to sources of interest.
Some sites, I don’t like their policies, so I don’t go there, encource others to not go there, and don’t do business there.

I need to make you feel bad for finding news
thats potentially interesting, but not readily accessible.

Why does the NYT want this information? Who do they share it with, and sell it to? Who has access to it, that the NYT is not aware of?

I spend a lot of time cleaning up virus attacks, hacker attacks, and security holes. I run with cookies off. If a site wants cookies on, I rarely go there. If a store plays loud obnoxious music, I shop some where else.

Not that the NYT is not an excellent souirce of info, but I don’t need to supply my Mother’s maiden name to get the print edition. It’s a question of access policy. And of arrogance.
certainly theirs. Perhaps mine.


Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: NYT

Hi Pat,

As I said, if you have a problem with the NY Times, then you should take it up with them. Personally, I don’t have a problem registering for the NY Times – for which you can certainly give them plenty of false info. Not only that but there are probably hundreds of fake username/passwords out there.

I’m really not so worried what the NY Times (or these mysterious hackers who have stolen it) does with all the fake information I’ve given them. I also really wouldn’t be all that worried if I had given them real information. Yes, I do believe in the importance of privacy, but I also do believe in trust, and I really don’t think the NY Times is out to get me on this one.

As for cookies… again, that’s completely your decision. Techdirt doesn’t require cookies, but I, personally, have no problem with them. For the most part they are very useful, and the chances of them being misused are slim. Yes, it’s a possibility, but there are risks in everything that you do, and cookies strike me as being pretty low on the threat level.

Anyway, I’m going back to an old policy of changing the links to the NY Times to start with “partners” which apparently gets around the registration info.


Mark Smith says:

Problems with Audio Spotlight

Hello, I am a UCLA student that wishes to remain anonymous for my own protection (this e-mail address is fake). I am a member of a fraternity here on campus that is engaging in some illegal activities with a piece of equipment called “audio spotlight”. It was recently featured on ABC news. This is a device is that is capable of projecting sound with ultrasound so that it can only be heard at the destination surface. This device is being used to start fights (calling people racist names from upper dorm windows) and keep people up at night, who are competing for scholarships and research grants. This has lead to 1 assault that I am aware of, as well as a slashed tire. The fraternity here is predominantly made up of electrical engineers. Please be informed that this device can be used for some serious mischief, even as a weapon. This inventor of this device is named Joseph Pompeii, he is from MIT.

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