Ever wanted sci-fi speakers that shoot sound straight into your head so that you can privately listen to your games and music without the need for headphones? Well, sound beaming technology can do just that. Kinda like a wireless headset, without a headset.
Noveto, an Israeli startup company, has just announced the SoundBeamer 1.0—supposedly the world's first branded consumer product to use sound beaming technology. Though, companies like Hypersound (associates of Turtle Beach) have been using similar technology (opens in new tab) for a while now, so what's so special about this device?
Well, where the alternatives broadcast audio in one general direction, the SoundBeamer 1.0 can actually beam the ultrasonic sound waves straight to your ears as you move around. The company's CEO, Christophe Ramstein, offers this amazing titbit: "The brain doesn’t understand what it doesn’t know," which sounds all very mysterious, but how does it actually work?
According to the Associated Press (opens in new tab), who were granted an exclusive interview with Noveto, the SoundBeamer utilises a "3D sensing module" that, at the touch of a button, can seek out the users ears and pump sound waves directly to them. The device is able to forge and maintain pockets of sound either side of the user's head, tracking their ear positioning so they can move about freely, without the sound being interrupted.
The SoundBeamer 1.0 works in either stereo or spatial 3D mode, meaning it can totally immerse the listener into a world of three-dimensional sound, without blocking any sound from the rest of the world. So, not only can you privately listen to your heavy metal, or play your games without disturbing your housemate, there are also no more awkward moments of pulling off your headphones to ask them to repeat what they just said.
"You don’t believe it because it sounds like a speaker, but no one else can hear it," explains Ayana Wallwater, the SoundBeamer Product Manager. "You’re in the middle of everything. It’s happening around you… it follows you wherever you go. So it’s personally for you—follows you, plays what you want inside your head."
If you've just invested in one of the best gaming headsets (opens in new tab), you might find yourself reaching for the receipt when the SoundBeamer 1.0 prototype launches this Friday. But let's not jump to conclusions just yet. This may be an incredible technological advancement, but it probably isn't going to be the most affordable piece of gear, when the "smaller, sexier" consumer version hits markets next year, in time for Christmas 2021.
It is certainly a baffling mechanism, one that conjures intriguing visions of what a wireless future might look like. There are so many potential applications, and I'm sure the military are probably already utilising this kind of tech in a host of terrifying ways we won't ever hope to understand.
One thing's for sure, it's going to become even more difficult to determine whether your housemates have gone crazy, as they laugh maniacally to themselves in their own personal sound bubble about things you cannot hear.