Straight out of the Mission Impossible toolkit for TV sports producers and audio technicians comes Squarehead’s Audioscope. It’s a stadium-mounted (huh? Well, it is rather large..) carbon fiber disk that contains 325 microphones and a wide-angle camera for video overview. It can focus on a bubblegum balloon popping amidst the audio chaos of a basketball game. Literally.

A technician points out the subject on the video screen, and the device figures out how far it is and how to best point the microphone array towards it. It’s the invention of Norwegians physicists Morgan Morgan Kjølerbakken and Vibeke Jahr.

“If we correct the audio arriving at three microphones then we have a signal that is three times as strong. Doing the same thing with 300 microphones can make a single conversation audible even in a stadium full of sports fan” says Kjølerbakken.

The best part about this is that it records separate tracks for each microphone, so for post production, editors can scour all tracks for juicy audio tidbits. Of course, that also goes for government surveillance teams in public places, but what invention doesn’t have its sordid uses?