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Sound Camera Ready to Hit the Market

DAEJEON, South Korea, May 14, 2013 — You can hear rattling inside your car, but you can’t tell where it’s coming from or how serious it is. A new sound camera potentially could save you the trip to the mechanic by pinpointing the exact location of the noise with color contours.

The handheld camera, called SeeSV-S205, was developed by professor Seok-Hyung Bae from the department of industrial design at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), together with Hyundai and SM Instruments Inc., a venture company established by KAIST graduate Young-Key Kim. It visualizes sound in color contours similar to the way a thermal camera displays temperature with visual images, detecting noise arising from sources such as heavy machinery, home appliances, vehicles and vessels.


SeeSV-S205, a portable sound camera developed by KAIST and SM Instruments Inc., is designed to be user-friendly and ergonomic. It received the 2013 Red Dot Award for product design. Images courtesy of KAIST.

“Abnormal noises coming from industrial products have relatively higher frequencies,” Bae said, so the camera has been simplified to target only frequencies in the range between 350 Hz and 12 kHz. The modification has allowed it to be smaller, lighter and more portable.

The pentagon-shaped camera has five arrays of microphones — 30 in total — that detect transient and stationary noise sources accurately using FPGA-based high-speed beam-forming technology. With a high-resolution optical camera at its center, the device is capable of capturing 25 sound images per second.

Three ergonomically designed grips at the back of the camera provide usability and mobility, allowing users to freely move it around to locate noise sources in various places, including the insides of machines and cars.


The location of target noises is identified by using SeeSV-S205.

“SeeSV-S205 offers portability, which I believe will spur the wider application of our sound camera to many industries, auto manufacturing in particular,” Bae said.

In February, the instrument received the Red Dot Award for product design, one of the three most prestigious international design awards in the world.

For more information, visit: www.kaist.ac.kr


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