As any video camera owner will tell you, rolling shutter is the work of the devil. It causes some horrendous issues with the picture in different circumstances. However, it seems that that rolling shutter effect can also be used in another way…
For those with a disposition towards for conspiracy theories your day is about to get a whole lot worse! Utilising rolling shutter is precisely what researchers at MIT have done, but in a way that is bound to cause the hairs on many a persons’ neck to stand on end.
MIT discovered that they could analyse the shutter artefacts that were caused by vibrations and therefore recreate intelligible sound using simply visual information. In tests they discovered that it was possible to reconstruct speech by filming a back of a packet of potato chips through sound proof glass at a distance of 15ft away, analysing movement in the packet as small as a thousandth of a pixel.
The researchers claim that this will not result in Big Brother listening in to everything you say. On the other hand it does beg the question of how long it will be before such an application is noted and noted thoroughly by the security services.
Personally I feel that although there is scope for abuse, as there is for many things in life, this could well be a valuable tool. You might take a different point of view of the below video if you are a celebrity who lives in fear of the Paparazzi however…
The Visual Microphone: Passive Recovery of Sound from Video