One of the most recognizable hallmarks of the Occupy Wall Street movement has been its “human microphone,” a technique through which protesters make speeches louder without the use of megaphones, which are banned from the protests. (Amplifying sound outdoors requires a permit in New York.)
The concept behind the human microphone is simple: The crowd repeats in unison what the speaker has said, chanting each sentence in succession so that people farther away can hear it. Depending on your point of view, it’s either inspiring or tiresome. The Inhuman Microphone does essentially the same thing — except it uses iPhones instead of human voices.
David Vella, Henrik Pettersson, Tom Leitch, and Tom Hannen built the Inhuman Megaphone at this past weekend’s London Music Hack day event, where hacker types team up with each other to conceive and create functional music apps over the course of a single 24-hour period.
Here’s how it works: The speaker simply shouts their message into an iPhone running the Inhuman Megaphone app, which sends it to a server on the internet, then back down to the smartphones of other people at the protest. They would, presumably, turn their phones up to full volume, which would then repeat the speaker’s words.