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Saturday, June 25, 2022

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A camera system developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers can see sound vibrations with such precision and detail that it can reconstruct the music of a single instrument in a band or orchestra. Even the most high-powered and directed microphones can't eliminate nearby sounds, ambient noise and the effect of acoustics when they capture audio. The novel system developed in the School of Computer Science's Robotics Institute (RI) uses two cameras and a laser to sense high-speed, low-amplitude surface vibrations. These vibrations can be used to reconstruct sound, capturing isolated audio without inference or a microphone. "We've invented a new way to see sound," said Mark Sheinin, a post-doctoral research associate at the Illumination and Imaging Laboratory (ILIM) in the RI. "It's a new type of camera system, a new imaging device, that is able to see something invisible to the naked eye." The team completed several successful demos of their system's effectiveness in sensing vibrations and the quality of the sound reconstruction. They captured isolated audio of separate guitars playing at the same time and individual speakers playing different music simultaneously. They analyzed the vibrations of a tuning fork, and used the vibrations of a bag of Doritos near a speaker to capture the sound coming from a speaker. This demo pays tribute to prior work done by MIT researchers who developed one of the first visual microphones in 2014. The CMU system dramatically improves upon past attempts to capture sound using computer vision. The team's work uses ordinary cameras that cost a fraction of the high-speed versions employed in past research while producing a higher quality recording. The dual-camera system can capture vibrations from objects in motion, such as the movements of a guitar while a musician plays it, and simultaneously sense individual sounds from multiple points. "We've made the optical...

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