I was asked to design the next generation of personal audio. In
addition, I wanted to produce a unique listening experience while
creating a set of objects that the user could connect with on a personal
level. In researching audio equipment and emerging sound technology, I
stumbled upon an interesting video featuring an inventor named Woody
Norris. He was explaining his latest invention at the time, which he
calls "HyperSonic Sound." This system uses ultrasonic emitters that
produce low-level ultrasound in a narrow column in front of the speaker.
I was immediately inspired. I saw technology that had the potential
to connect people to their audio like never before. I also saw an
opportunity to take it one step further by making the signal spread
adjustable. By having the signal originate at a single node and
directing it into a dish, the node's relative position to the focal
point of the dish determines the spread of the sound. This means you can
focus the sound on just yourself, or spread the signal to fill a wider
area if you have company. Now you can have the privacy of traditional
headphones without the wires, discomfort, and isolation.
This application of the technology is still just a concept, and the
speakers I built are purely for aesthetic purposes. The underlying goals
of this project were to get people to rethink what personal audio means
to them, and to show where sound technology could be in the future.
Perhaps companies will see this concept and want to develop this
technology to eventually integrate it into their product lines.