Anyone who is an avid fan of the classic Japanese anime series Doraemon probably still remembers the Telephoto megaphone. Well, a Japanese development team at Fuji Xerox just took it upon themselves to make this gadget a reality, and it’s more than just for looks.
The telephoto megaphone (Bouen Megafon, lit. long sight megaphone) made its first appearance in a 1986 comic book issue of Doraemon. The gadget essentially allows the user to speak to a person at a very long distance, just like a megaphone. The catch here is that unlike an ordinary megaphone, only the person you tried to speak to would be able to hear it, and is thus capable of pinpointing your voice only to the one you targeted with its scope.
Fuji Xerox took the challenge make the gadget a reality as part of its 4D Pocket Project. This IT solution campaign was initiated with the intention of inviting creativity and innovation from small to medium enterprises to foster new ideas and concepts.
The basic outline of the telephoto megaphone is of course laced with the complimentary design that is made to the exact likeness of the original gadget in the series. As for its mechanism, it seems to use a custom sound amplification system that is reminiscent of the ones used in LRADs, but is made to concentrate sound waves at a specific direction. The intensity of the sound wave generated can automatically adjust depending on the distance of the person targeted on the scope (which is measured with a laser pointer).
The actual efficiency of the gadget is still up for debate, but concept-wise it could probably work as it is designed to for the first few hundred meters. Even then, there’s still the question of availability, as it is simply made as a concept, and there are probably no plans to make it commercially available as an official toy.
Regardless, the idea is still quite cool, and it’s astonishing to consider that it was just a simple idea back in the 1980s, where it was probably considered just as whimsical and fantastic as PADDs, which are now very real today in the form of tablets and smartphones.