Can You Recover Sound From Images? What Now For The Higgs Boson? 3 months ago   11:23

Is it possible to reconstruct sound from high-speed video images?
Part of this video was sponsored by LastPass:
Special thanks to Dr. Abe Davis for revisiting his research with me:

This video was based on research by Dr. Abe Davis and colleagues. I found out about this work years ago and was fascinated by the way he was able to capture vibration information in image-only video. I always imagined the motions of objects would be visible as when recording a tuning fork in slow motion - so deriving sound from high speed images seemed a feasible task. But the reality is much more difficult.

Sound vibrations only cause objects to wiggle by about a micrometer. This is much smaller than a pixel, so the algorithm must understand the characteristics of the image. A move in one direction should cause some pixels to lighten slightly, while others darken - and this behavior is correlated along the edges of the image. So noise can be reduced because it's random over the image and there are enough places to sample that you can get it to cancel out.

Something I'm wondering now is - would it be possible to capture sound in a single image? I'm thinking it would have to be an image of a large object or space because the wavelengths of typical sounds are quite long. Maybe a high frequency sound could be imaged in a suitable medium...

Animations by Alan Chamberlain

Music from "Seaweed"

Comments 2164 Comments

Jackson Kendall
Politicians should now be afraid of cameras
Andrei Ven
this is so fringe
Don't let this video distract you from the fact that this scientist was watching a Ben Shapiro video in the background
2 months ago
Can you team up with the Slo-Mo Guys to do this? It would be sick to see this done with 20,000 FPS!
Morph Ball
This is how theme music happens.
I Will Roam
Fascinating, and something I've always wondered if was possible. Now I know it is!
But now I am even MORE curious - could this be combined with the exoplanet 'shadow imaging' concept described here regarding Tabby's Star/Boyajian's Star/KIC 8462852:
I hope someone sees this comment and can devise an experiment with this two concepts combined.
Just use a microphone
Michael Murphy
5:50 - that looks like Curtis St and Santa Cruz Ave in Menlo
David S. Hasanli
Science is endless hole
Sell it to the gov
Antonio Castaneda
Can you explain hypersonic directional speakers work like Soundlazer or Audio Spotlight? I can't find any video explanations anywhere.
Kevin Martin
And a bit of a tip of the hat to Thomas Edison, whose first recording was "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
Tech Spy
They did this in the movie Eagle Eye.
IT moved because The Air from The box
Dan Villare
“Mary Had a Little Lamb” was the first thing that Alexander Graham Bell recorded into a telephone. Was his choice of that song for this experiment intentionally following in that tradition? Because I think that’s so cool.
"Name not available"
I think about 10:15 a lot.
44khz and 48khz because there are two channels!! Stereo needs that for both sides. Divide it and you will get it right.
Clive Hill
You don't seem to take account of rolling shutter.
1:45 "We're not seeing enough movement!"
Camila Guerra
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What Now For The Higgs Boson? Can You Recover Sound From Images? 3 months ago   08:00

For a report on ABC's Catalyst program (, I visited the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to find out what is being done now that the Higgs Boson has been discovered.

Although its mass has been measured around 125-126 GeV most of the other properties of the particle remain unknown. Its spin appears to be 0 or 2 but more results are required to nail this down. If it is the standard model Higgs, the spin should be 0, resulting in a fairly symmetric distribution of decay products in the detectors.

We may know this year if it's not the standard model Higgs - this would be the case if it doesn't decay into specific particles with the expected frequency. However if it is the standard model Higgs, it may take many more years to be certain. The large hadron collider will be shut down in 2013 for upgrades so that higher energies up to 14 TeV can be tested. Right now the LHC is operating at 8 TeV. The next announcement is expected in December.