Could ultrasound interference be responsible ? Image Credit: GFDL Roger McLassus
Scientists may have found an alternative explanation for the strange sounds heard by diplomats in Havana.
The phenomenon, which has targeted embassy personnel and sparked a breakdown of international relations between Cuba and the United States, was first made public in August.
Thought to involve the use of sonic weapons, the attacks have been directly targeting the hotel rooms of US diplomats and have induced a range of symptoms that include hearing loss, dizziness, balance problems, visual complaints, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping.
Now though, computer scientists from the University of Michigan believe that they may have finally solved the mystery and that these so-called 'attacks' may actually be entirely accidental.
The key, they argue, lies in the interference produced when two ultrasound listening devices are placed too close together.
Such an intense sound could account for some of the symptoms being experienced by the victims.
The team reached this conclusion by reverse-engineering a recording of the audio and by combining various ultrasound sources in an attempt to reproduce what the diplomats would have heard.
"When a second inaudible ultrasonic source interfered with the primary inaudible ultrasonic source, intermodulation distortion created audible byproducts that share spectral characteristics with [the recording]," they wrote.
While their findings are inconclusive, their explanation for these incidents is certainly compelling.
"The devices put in by the Cubans could have caused problems that no one knew could happen," said former US diplomat James Cason. "If this finally solves the mystery of sonic attacks, it is likely that Cubans will never admit it. They would have to recognize that they have eavesdropping devices everywhere, and that they will never say."
Source: Miami Herald | Comments (8)
Cuba, Sonic Weapons