Capturing Sound with Smoke and Lasers

A father and son team think they've found the next stage of microphone evolution

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Audio engineer David Schwartz has designed a microphone that ditches a mechanical diaphragm in favor of a fast moving stream of smoke. As sound waves disturb the smoke, it changes the intensity of a laser that's pointed at a photodetector. Schwartz's son Daniel gave Spectrum a demonstration of their latest prototype.