As unbelievable and drawn straight out of a science fiction reality it may seem, an Israeli company called Noveto Systems just proved it’s possible. The company is directed by dr. Christopher Ramstein and holds over 44 patents. Their new, long awaited device debuted last Friday and it enables a completely new and exciting way of listening to audio. For now, they presented a prototype, but there is a promise, that a consumer-ready device will be ready by December 2021.
So, what possibly new can there be about listening to audio, you may ask? Let me introduce you to SoundBeamer 1.0. Simply put, it’s a device that thanks to patented by this company specific soundbeaming technology, targets your ears and directs the sound directly at them. Only you can hear the sounds that are transmitted, but it does not cut you off from the real world- you can still experience voices from the surrounding. The feeling when enjoying this way of listening is, according to Associated Press journalists who tried it, as if it was playing in your head and happening all around you. According to company’s employee, Ayana Wallwater: ‘when you are inside the bubble, you get the sound, the volume, the immersiveness of it’. In Noveto’s opinion, SoundBeamer 1.0 represents a completely new way of sensory listening.
But let’s move to the technical aspects. Although, the sound beaming principle is nothing new, Noveto Systems managed to transform it into an extremely interesting technology that tracks your ears. SoundBeamer 1.0 is a stand-alone branded hardware which works by using ultrasonic waves and beamforming in order to create sound pockets just next to your ears. This is possible due to Noveto’s Digital Signal Processing algorithms, which are mathematical formulas that influence and manipulate digital signals. The ground of the product’s operating can be explained on the basis od directional sound. This term refers to the concept of creating fields of sound which spread less than usual loudspeakers (they create sound waves that diverge quickly-this is called diffraction- and aim to spread as much sound as possible and cover as much place as possible), by using many different devices. As those directional speakers need a minimum of diffraction, they use ultrasonic speakers. Owing to ultrasonic waves, which diffract less than acoustic waves, the sound can be aimed at more accurate locations. Here, in Noveto system, a custom-designed transducer array pushes the algorithm-designed waves into air and when those ultrasonic waves come across an object (you, to be exact) they convert into acoustic waves, which you can hear. But how is it possible that the waves don’t hit somewhere else, but the entire process of converting them happens just outside your ear? SoundBeamer 1.0 has a built-in 3D sensing module which locates and follows the trail of movements of your ears in real time. Then the ultrasonic waves target them and converts itself into small pockets of acoustic sound. What is amazing, is that the system does all of this in real time, so you can move your head freely, and the sound pockets will always remain next to your ears. What’s worth mentioning, this product can be connected via Bluetooth to any device.
What are the benefits? To quote the Noveto company, this will be (or actually is) a world ‘where sound can be both private and spatially three-dimensional’. Confidently, our comfort will increase, owing to the lack of headphones. We will have more freedom and more control over the sound. Also, we will always be “present” and focused, due to the possibility to experience sounds from variety of sources.
I am more than sure, that at the moment we are not able to count even half of the device’s applications that may appear in the future. Just for now, it can prove to be extremely useful regarding conference calls- you will have a private experience, but won’t be isolated from your team. Another area this device could be used for is public speaking- it could help some people who are not that good at it, or do not have much time to prepare, to always sound and look (due to the fact that it is not visible whether you use it), professional. Maybe it is a mundane matter, but how many times when driving with someone in a car, you felt irritated because of the type of music they listen to, or navigation instructions that occurred from time to time, and as you wanted to talk, isolating yourself through headphones was not an option? Using this solution every passenger can have their own choice of audio and still enjoy the conversation. Another entertainment matter SoundBeamer 1.0 might contribute to are parties- not everywhere and not every time you can host them without interrupting your neighbours. Listening to music loudly might occur as an issue, but due to this device the problem could vanish. SoundBeamer 1.0 will revolutionize the audio market for sure, the question is whether it will happen in the short or long-run. Although most surveys show that we, as people, are resistant to change, this is usually due to uncertainty which comes along with it. I am positive, that we will let this solution play a significant role. Yet still, I can imagine situations in which this technology could cause trouble. For example, it might prove to be a difficult nut to crack in examination situations. Checking if someone isn’t transmitting information via ultrasonic waves could be hard… However, as necessity is the mother of invention, a solution for that would probably also emerge quickly.
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