The inventor of the MP3 digital audio format has developed a laser microphone that eliminates mechanical interference.
In a proof-of-concept device, the Rochester Institute of Technology's David Schwartz invented a microphone that uses a laser to measure the deflections that sound waves make as they travel through an air chamber filled with microscopic particles -- virtually eliminating mechanical interference with the sound. When the particles move in response to sound, the laser detects the motion without acoustically disturbing the air.
That translates to crisper recordings and more consistent sound quality in the studio.
Traditional microphones are limited by the very technology they use to pick up sound. In a traditional microphone, a diaphragm converts sound into electrical signals by measuring vibrations made by incoming sound waves. Since the diaphragms are central to how a microphone works, mechanical interference to some degree is unavoidable.
Schwartz's Laser-Accurate microphone is still in early stages, but it's a novel take on an old concept. A second prototype is expected soon.