Wall, Ceiling Tiles Can Be ‘Scanned’ To Hear Past Conversations

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Wall, Ceiling Tiles Can Be 'Scanned' To Hear Past Conversations

Thanks to revolutionary 4D technology developed by Prof. Marlene Cavanaugh at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there are no longer any secrets.

Cavanaugh, Professor of Optical Sciences at MIT, uses a combination of electron microscopes and good old-fashioned catalog research to examine infinitesimal changes in fiber patterns within acoustic wall and ceiling tiles.  Her teams microscopically examine and compare new tiles against used tiles.  Depending upon the age, the depth of information revealed can reach back years, and in some cases, decades.

“’Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another,’” said Cavanaugh, quoting Albert Einstein.  “That’s where we started.  I got the idea when my lab was being remodeled.  There was a period of time when the tiles were being replaced, and when the old ones were taken out, I could of course hear conversations that were taking place in the next lab before the new ones were put in.  I wondered if the tiles could have absorbed some sort of energy, and if that energy could be tracked.”

Cavanaugh selected a team of students to research building records to find the lot numbers and factories that produced the building’s acoustic tiles.  When a match was found, unused tiles were shipped to her lab at MIT and electronically scanned.  Used tiles were also scanned and microscopic differences were revealed and converted into sound wave patters developed at one of MIT’s audio labs.

“The process is crude at this point, but we’re making progress,” she said.  “Right now we have snippets of conversations, but it’s difficult to preserve the actual physical tiles once they’ve been scanned.”

Were there any secrets revealed by Prof. Cavanaugh and her team of audio-visual experts?  She’s not telling.  “What I will say is this,” said the Professor. “In this day and age where we’re all mindful of electronic footprints we leave behind, don’t forget that speech was the first advanced form of human communication.  What hasn’t changed is that it’s important to remain aware of everything we say.  Unless you see your neighbor buying an electron microscope and removing tiles from your walls or ceiling, you really don’t have much to worry about.”

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