A Whisper to a Scream
By Eric Lin, Thu Aug 21 21:30:00 GMT 2003

A new microphone developed in South Korea can accurately pickup whispered words. This new technology could put an end to all those people yelling into their mobile phones on the train, but are they really yelling because they believe the phone won't pick up what they say?

Last year, Samsung released a few CDMA phones with "whisper mode", (No, not the whisper mode from Blue Thunder, but some of the handsets were blue.) a technology that detected when the user was whispering and would amplify the voice before transmitting it. However when amplified, the voice quality was poor and quite choppy.

Nature magazine explains that this is due to the proximity of the microphone to the sound source, and the type of holes used to carry sounds to the microphone. Researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology in Kyungbuk, South Korea have developed a system that uses four microphones, set behind a thin layer of slots and holes to create an acoustical chamber. This chamber and signal processing software allows the microphones to filter out background wind and noise and reproduce voice more clearly- even difficult to filter sounds like "s" and "p."

The microphone is already small enough to fit into a standard mobile handset according to the researches, but there is no word on when or if it will be available to manufacturers.