It appears that snoops may soon have access to a powerful tool that may likely be used to abuse privacy.
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A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has built the first-ever circulator for sound. The team’s experiments successfully prove that the fundamental symmetry with which acoustic waves travel through air between two points in space (“if you can hear, you can also be heard”) can be broken by a compact and simple device.
“Using the proposed concept, we were able to create one-way communication for sound traveling through air,” said Andrea Alù, who led the project and is an associate professor and David & Doris Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellow in the Cockrell School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Imagine being able to listen without having to worry about being heard in return.”
This successful experiment is described in “Sound Isolation and Giant Linear Nonreciprocity in a Compact Acoustic Circulator,” which will be featured on the cover of Science in the Jan.