For those of you trapped in a dreadful cubicle all day, you're probably more than familiar with the ever-popular conference calls that involve everyone and their mother-in-law trying to communicate at the same time. While the effectiveness of these chaotic gatherings are essentially nil, Motorola
is hoping to clarify things, literally. The company has recently filed a patent to augment callers' voices so each individual sounds "distinctly different." The idea here is to use technology often found in recording studios, which adjusts the pitch of a singer's voice in order to disguise their inability sing on key, so to speak. Each caller would chat aimlessly for a few moments before getting down to the nitty gritty, so the Motorola magic could "determine a pitch contour for each individual voice signal," and if two or more folks sounded eerily similar, it would "shift [the voice] to one of approximately five semitones" in order to solve the confusion. Once the caller had the shift put on them, they'd blabber a moment more so the software could ensure the change was indeed effective -- and after all the voices have been given a tone of their own, you can supposedly identify your colleagues with ease. While this plan sounds admirable, and may solve a few embarrassing mixups while on the speakerphone, we just have to wonder which unlucky chaps would end up Alvin the Chipmunk and Bobby Baritone.