How a silent video can reveal sound: Abe Davis’ knockout tech demo at TED2015

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TED Blog

Abe Davis speaks at TED2015 - Truth and Dare, Session 1. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED In Session 1 of TED2015, Abe Davis demonstrated an imaging technology that pulls sound from silent video. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Abe Davis begins his talk in Session 1 of TED2015 by showing what appear to be two still images — a closeup of the inside of a wrist, a sleeping baby in a crib. But these are not photographs, he says; they are videos. Even if we can’t see them, there are tiny motions in the frame: the blood pulsing, the baby breathing.

“We created software that finds the subtle motions in video and amplifies them so they become big enough for us to see,” Davis says, showing the images again, this time processed to magnify the tiny motions in the video. Now it’s easy to see a pulse in the wrist, to see the baby’s chest lift and fall.

The team led his team to another question: Could they use this video technique…

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