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Watching through TNG, I'm curious, with all the capabilities of Geordi's visor, could it be calibrated to pick up sound waves? There's so many other things that it picks up, that this seems like it would be simple enough.

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  • TOS-era, sensor webs were utilized by blind people to see. The used sonar (emitting and receiving sound waves) to get a rough view of the world around them, and were replaced by the VISOR and other technologies by the time of TNG.
    – Izkata
    Apr 1, 2013 at 22:55

3 Answers 3

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The VISOR Geordi wears was only capable of scanning the electromagnetic spectrum from 1 Hz to 100,000 THz. As DVK's answer mentions, sounds is a mechanical movement of the air, and not electromagnetic.

Now, could a device similar to Geordi's VISOR in appearance be built that worked via sonar? Definitely. There are primitive (compared to 24th century technology) devices available today, fashioned around sun glasses, that already do that.

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I'm not aware of any explicit capability to pick up sound waves (which are mechanical movement of air molecules, unlike electromagnetic waves used for vision).

The closest the topic was discussed was mentioned on Memory Alpha:

While being held hostage on Arkaria Base, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D reconfigured the VISOR to emit a hypersonic pulse to incapacitate their captors. (TNG: "Starship Mine").

Now, this merely indicates that they were able to emit the sound... but generally the same sort of hardware can be used to emit and produce a sound (e.g. piezoelectric stuff) which means that turning the VISOR into a sound recorder would not be much more difficult than into a sound transmitter, even if the capability is not there out of the box.

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    It's somewhat questionable that the writers knew that "hypersonic" meant "something to do with sound". Often they just had "fill in the blanks" written throughout a script, which was then farmed out to someone else to invent techno-babble words with which to complete those.
    – John O
    Apr 1, 2013 at 18:50
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    Tachyon Pulse!! Reverse the Polarity!! Science all the things!!
    – Monty129
    Apr 1, 2013 at 19:04
  • "Bounce a graviton particle beam off the main deflector dish..."
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 14, 2016 at 17:26
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I don't think it was ever explicitly said in the show, but LeVar Burton has said several times that Geordi can see sound. And the look on his face when he says it suggests this is something that blew his mind, not something he made up. Probably Gene told it to him at some point, around the time he was telling Brent that Data's got something 'better than skin.'

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    Hi, welcome to the site. You could greatly improve this answer by editing it to include a direct quote of what Burton said, and specifying the source of the quote. If you can provide a link to an actual article or video where he said that, that'd be great as well. Apr 14, 2023 at 6:02

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