The leap from headphones that plugged into your device to wireless Bluetooth was remarkable. No longer would we have to suffer the inconvenience of our wires getting tugged by something or having to be near our device at all times. And last Friday, the most recent giant leap in audio tech was shared with the world – it’s a device that beams music directly into your ears, no headphones required.
Yes, directly into your ears. I know what I said.
SoundBeamer 1.0 is the debut desktop device from Noveto Systems, an Israeli company, that beams sound directly into the ears of the listener without the need for headphones.
By using a 3-D sensing module, SoundBeamer 1.0 locates and tracks your ear position. Then, it sends audio through ultrasonic waves to create “sound pockets” in your ear so only you can hear the audio while still being able to listen to the sounds in your environment.
Early users of the technology say the listening sensation is straight out of a sci-fi movie – the 3-D sound feels like it’s coming from every angle, though no one can hear it but you.
Now your entire office can listen to music or conference calls openly without disturbing each other. At home, members of your family can play games, watch a movie or jam to music with minimal disruption.
While I think this technology is extremely cool (I mean, come on), part of me wonders about the social repercussions once SoundBeam is widely available – how will it affect us interpersonally to constantly and inconspicuously be further pushed into our own little audio bubbles?
Personally, I like wearing my big wireless headphones when I go on a walk or am typing away at my computer. Maybe I’m just a grouch, but I find something soothing in others knowing I’m not listening to them. My headphones are a visual signifier that I’m in my own world and can’t be bothered.
But maybe change is good.
By Christmas of next year, CEO of Noveto Christophe Ramstein says that a “smaller, sexier” version of SoundBeamer will be available for consumer release. Fingers crossed that by that time we will all be vaccinated and actually be able to be around others so that audio beaming is a worthwhile investment.
If there are more productive, practical uses for audio beaming tech outside of its evident coolness (and I’m positive there are), I’m sure you tech heads will be on it. I’m excited to see what the future of audio sounds like.