Due to a permit requirement for sound amplifying devices -- such as megaphones -- in New York, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread its message to the masses using what has been dubbed "the human microphone." But a new app demonstrated at the London Music Hack Day could give protesters technology that doesn't quite break the rules while saving their vocal chords.
The human microphone method basically involves one person saying something and the rest shouting the message back through the crowd until all have heard. The Inhuman Microphone -- created by David Vella, Henrik Pettersson, Tom Leitch and Tom Hannen -- takes this idea but shortens it with a technological twist.
Here's how it works according to the creators:
Our hack circumvents the “no megaphones” rule. The protester shouts a message into their phone. It gets uploaded to a server. Then it gets sent to the other phones nearby. The phones are synchronised, and then they are all triggered to play the message back at the same time.
Watch the demo at Music Hack Day, a 24-hour event where hackers get together to develop functional music apps:
[vimeo_embed http://player.vimeo.com/video/33153937?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]
As the videos show, those who sync up to the app -- found at bit.ly.inhumanmic -- will be able to project the speaker's voice over their iPhones. Evolver.FM (via Gizmodo) reports that the creators said getting the voices to come across the speakers in unison was the biggest challenge.
Evolver.FM also points out the irony of the app:
Some critics of the OWS movement have wondered why people protesting against abuses by large corporations would use devices created by large corporations in their efforts. Surely, there's a bit of irony there, and the spectacle of #OWS protesters holding aloft smartphones created by one of the biggest corporations in the world that are connected to the Internet by wireless service from another massive corporation might give those people more to complain about.
The creators state that they didn't have an Android device at the event for testing but that the hack will also work using Google Chrome on a laptop.