Imagine the next time you're watching the the Lakers vs. Celtics game and you can hear every little conversation that Kobe Bryant has with Ray Allen. The AudioScope, developed by physicists Morgan Kjølerbakken and Vibeke Jahr, can make that happen.
When mounted from above a sports arena, the 300 microphones set in a circular position can zoom in and isolate a single audio pitch. Combined with a wide-angle camera, the AudioScope can capture video and audio simultaneously.
The AudioScope doesn't function like a conventional mic. Custom software calculates the time it takes each sound to reach the microphones and then digitally corrects each one to isolate it to a particular spot. So even if you're sitting at the very top of a stadium with 10,000 cheering fans, trash talking down on the field has the potential to be crystal clear.
Kjølerbakken and Jahr have high hopes for their idea. They've been testing the super microphone with several basketball and soccer teams and the results seem positive. The mic could even be useful to the FBI or CIA too — assuming they don't already have their own version.