Sound Over Laser: AudioLaser?

So, get this MIT have managed to transmit audio over laser. Somehow. So it’s AudioLaser – I guess?

Scientists over at MIT have figured out how to transmit audio over a laser beam. This is any type of audio, so that can be audio, it can be music anything at all. This is without a receiver either.

“Our system can be used from some distance away to beam information directly to someone’s ear… It is the first system that uses lasers that are fully safe for the eyes and skin to localize an audible signal to a particular person in any setting.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Charles M. Wynn via a press release.

The groundbreaking discovery was published in a paper in an journal called Optics Letters. The paper goes on to describe how an MIT team developed two differing methods of transmitting audio via laser.


The way that the MIT researchers managed to do this was via a photoacoustic effect. This is the formation of soundwaves as a result of a material absorbing light. In their case they used water vapour that in the air, if they ‘swept’ a laser beam at the speed of sound. By changing the length of the sweeps they were able to encode different audible pitches.

Both methods allowed them to transmit sound a total of 8.2Ft away at 60db. In comparison this is about the same level of loudness of background music. Yet in this instance only the sound maker and the sound ‘target’ were able to hear it.
On the other hand they were able to encode an audio message by adjusting the power of the laser beam, however, this resulted in a much quieter result. Yet it was a clearer result than the prior method.

AudioLaser – Safety

The MIT team want to use this tech to allow the transmission of audio in situations that can be quite dangerous. For example at a mass shooting. Authorities could beam instructions to those in trouble, without anyone else hearing.

“We hope that this will eventually become a commercial technology…There are a lot of exciting possibilities, and we want to develop the communication technology in ways that are useful.” researcher Ryan M. Sullenberger


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