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That Voice in Your Head May Be Selling Something


That Voice in Your Head May Be Selling Something

Photograph by Frank Herholdt/Getty Images

Oh boy, this looks annoying: Doze off against the window of a train or bus, and suddenly that voice in your head isn’t a dream or your usual neurotic self—it might be an advertiser.

German ad agency BBDO Düsseldorf has developed a transmitter to make a “talking window” using the well-established technique of bone conduction, Adweek reported today. The idea is that the bones in your skull transmit frequencies to the brain, which then assembles them into sounds you can hear. If you put your head against a window, for example, the glass could send a sound into your head. For a heavy-headed traveler, the message could tout, say, a caffeinated beverage.

A number of commercial headphones employ the same bone-conduction technique, allowing swimmers to listen to music while they swim. Other models are aimed at safety: You can jog or bike without covering your ears. The video demonstrates the idea of including advertising messages in window vibrations. Should it ever come to reality in a real public-transportation system, however, the technology seems likely to prompt cursing, if not terrified screams.

Bachman is an associate editor for Businessweek.com.

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