Students find ringtone that adults can’t hear

In that old battle of the wills between young people and their keepers, the young have found a new weapon that could change the balance of power on the cellphone front: a ring tone that many adults cannot hear.

In that old battle of the wills between young people and their keepers, the young have found a new weapon that could change the balance of power on the cellphone front: a ring tone that many adults cannot hear.

The technology, which relies on the fact that most adults gradually lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, was developed in Britain but has only recently spread to America — by Internet, of course.

Download here [credit: NY times]

The cellphone ring tone was the offshoot of an invention called the Mosquito, developed last year by a Welsh security company to annoy teenagers and gratify adults, not the other way around.

It was marketed as an ultrasonic teenager repellent, an ear-splitting 17-kilohertz buzzer designed to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected.

The principle behind it is a biological reality that hearing experts refer to as presbycusis, or aging ear. While Miss Musorofiti is not likely to have it, most adults over 40 or 50 seem to have some symptoms, scientists say.

While most human communication takes place in a frequency range between 200 and 8,000 hertz (a hertz being the scientific unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second), most adults’ ability to hear frequencies higher than that begins to deteriorate in early middle age.

“It’s the most common sensory abnormality in the world,” said Dr. Rick A. Friedman, an ear surgeon and research scientist at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.

But in a bit of techno-jujitsu, someone — a person unknown at this time, but probably not someone with presbycusis — realized that the Mosquito, which uses this common adult abnormality to adults’ advantage, could be turned against them.

The Mosquito noise was reinvented as a ring tone.

“Our high-frequency buzzer was copied. It is not exactly what we developed, but it’s a pretty good imitation,” said Simon Morris, marketing director for Compound Security, the company behind the Mosquito. “You’ve got to give the kids credit for ingenuity.”

The detailed post can be found here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *