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Audio Zoom

It scares me, and yet I want to play with it. Finally there’s this Norwegian company called Squarehead Technology that has built what I have long wanted to see. A system with tons of microphones that can do time-of-arrival based beam-forming on audio. What that means is they can pick up sound originating from any point in a noisy space while canceling out sounds originating from anywhere else. And their system can even do that after the fact. So all you need to do is set to it record in a large space, and then you can tune in to any private conversation, even after the fact. Some intelligence agencies must have had this for many years, and others will be their biggest customers. (They seem to be aiming at broadcast companies and conference venues themselves.)

I am half expecting this company to be bought by In-Q-Tel (the CIA’s venture capital arm) or some other shady outfit soon, but I have taken the liberty of asking them to come demonstrate it at this year’s CCC Congress nonetheless.

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