Your Bag of Chips Is Spying on You

MIT researchers show how to reconstruct speech by watching bag of chips.

— -- It's not just the NSA or your nosy neighbor who may be eavesdropping on you. An ordinary bag of potato chips is the latest spy tool.

MIT researchers showed how they were able to recover sounds from everyday objects by videotaping them and then translating their vibrations back into audio.

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The bag of potato chips were placed on the ground in a room, with a cellphone next to it. A camera filmed behind a soundproof window while a person on the phone recited the nursery rhyme "Mary Had A Little Lamb."

Researchers said they were able to take the tiny vibrations from the video and play back a clear rendition of the song.

"When sound hits an object, it causes the object to vibrate," said Abe Davis, who is a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT who is one of the authors of the paper.

"The motion of this vibration creates a very subtle visual signal that’s usually invisible to the naked eye," he wrote. "People didn't realize that this information was there."

The team also tried the experiment with a plant. Check out what happens in the video below.