Korean designers have come up with a portable “sound camera” that can be easily set up and used to pinpoint the source of specific noises coming from an automobile. So if your car is making a funny noise and neither you nor the mechanic can locate the source, technology is on the way that can help find the problem.
A sound camera uses a microphone array to visualize the distribution of sound. Previous systems were fairly large and cumbersome. Professor Seok-Hyng Bae of the Department of Industrial Design at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and his students developed a portable version that targets the types of abnormal noises that come from industrial equipment.
The 4-lb. SeeSV-S205 has five microphone arrays that can capture 25 sound images per second. An optical camera in the unit sends images to a computer, which can overlay the sound patterns with the image of the vehicle or equipment.
The device won the Red Dot Design Award earlier in 2013, and it is expected to be commercially available this summer.