First we have wireless audio transmission over radio, then Bluetooth and WiFi came along to address our need for short range wire-free transmission. So, what’s next? Well, how does laser audio transmission sounds to you? Impossible? Not quite and as proven by brothers Armand and Victor. Not did the duo demonstrated that laser can be a medium to send music (or to eavesdrop), but it can do so over quite a lengthy distance. So how far are we talking about? 1,450 feet or 442 meters, and over the roof of several houses, and through a treetop before landing in the duo’s friend, Kevin room.
Obviously, this is no funded experiment and hence, the equipment used are cobbled up together with basic and recovered electronic components, including the laser which was picked up from eBay. On the receiving end, which was a set of solar panels that hooked up directly to a sound system comprising of a power amplifier and a pair of passive speakers. The result is not perfect, with the resulting audio having noticeable artifacts when cranked up to the eleven. The ‘noise’ observed, according to the duo, was attributed by dust present in the air, as well as “turbulences linked to heat.” It was an impressive demonstration, nonetheless.
The experiment demonstrates the principle of fiber optic networks, but the only difference was, this had to be in a straight line since there was nothing to guide the intense beam around bends and corners. In any case, Bluetooth, WiFi, and radio are here to stay cos’ it is unlikely that the straight up laser beam will be used to transmit audio for our enjoyment. May be spies could use it to eavesdrop their subjects or military could use it to transmit voice messages or for communications. Granted, laser as data transmission is not really new. CD, DVD and such have been using it for a while, but what Armand and Victor had done could very well be the longest distance achieved to date.
Image: screengrab from YouTube video.