Multipath-enabled private audio with noise

Anadi Chaman, Yu-Jeh Liu, Jonah Casebeer, Ivan Dokmanić

We address the problem of privately communicating audio messages to multiple listeners in a reverberant room using a set of loudspeakers. We propose two methods based on emitting noise. In the first method, the loudspeakers emit noise signals that are appropriately filtered so that after echoing along multiple paths in the room, they sum up and descramble to yield distinct meaningful audio messages only at specific focusing spots, while being incoherent everywhere else. In the second method, adapted from wireless communications, we project noise signals onto the nullspace of the MIMO channel matrix between the loudspeakers and listeners. Loudspeakers reproduce a sum of the projected noise signals and intended messages. Again because of echoes, the MIMO nullspace changes across different locations in the room. Thus, the listeners at focusing spots hear intended messages, while the acoustic channel of an eavesdropper at any other location is jammed. We show, using both numerical and real experiments, that with a small number of speakers and a few impulse response measurements, audio messages can indeed be communicated to a set of listeners while ensuring negligible intelligibility elsewhere.

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