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May 1, 2018

With 64 microphones and one lens, this camera lets you film sound

by John_A

OK, now slow us down if we get a bit too technical with our terminology, but microphones are things designed to record sound. Cameras, on the other hand, are there to record images. Got it? Well, most of the time that is true. A new device, currently raising funds on Kickstarter, messes around with that equation — thanks to a camera that is designed to record sound in the form of an image.

While acoustic cameras are already a thing, this new device aims to substantially bring the cost down, from more than $100,000 to just a few thousand dollars.

“Soundcam is the first handheld camera that images sound and is affordable for everyone,” creator Maik Kuklinski told Digital Trends. “It locates sound sources in real time and immediately displays the results on the screen. The system is intuitive and as easy to use as a smartphone with its touchscreen.”

The Soundcam camera functions by combining 64 separate microphones, a traditional optical camera, and an integrated data analysis system. The data from the microphones, aided by some smart algorithms, allows the device to work out where in a frame a particular sound is coming from. It can then overlay this information in real time on the optical camera’s live view.

Kuklinski said that the device can be used for a variety of applications, such as leakage detection in pipes, products or buildings, environmental noise, drone detection, and more. It should happily find a home in just about any research and development, service, maintenance, and quality assurance department — even when they don’t have a whole lot of cash.

“Acoustic consultancies who mostly know this technology already but weren’t able to afford it due to the high price,” Kuklinski said about who Soundcam will most likely appeal to. “Now they have the opportunity to get a very simple and helpful system [at] the lowest price.”

While we offer our usual precautions about the risks of pledging money for crowdfunding campaigns, if you’re interested in getting involved you can head over to the team’s Kickstarter page for more information. Prices start at $5,420, with shipping set to hopefully take place this November.

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