Wherever I Go, I’ve Got Beams In My Ears

I read about the idea of Sound Beaming technology and I couldn’t decide what my predominant initial reaction was. I had two extreme reactions: one of thinking this was the most awesome thing ever and one of the shivers.

Imagine a world where you move around in your own personal sound bubble. You listen to your favorite tunes, play loud computer games, watch a movie or get navigation directions in your car — all without disturbing those around you.
That’s the possibility presented by “sound beaming,” a new futuristic audio technology from Noveto Systems, an Israeli company. On Friday it will debut a desktop device that beams sound directly to a listener without the need for headphones.

Whaaaat?

I like the idea of having a headphone-like experience without obscuring the real world sounds. That would be freaking cool, and perhaps even better for walking around and getting GPS directions than even bone-conducting headphones. Plus, it sounds like there wouldn’t be any of that sound leak everybody hates. In some instances, I like the idea of immersive sound. I always thought it was cool when I went to those movie theatres that had the really awesome 3D sound. These days when we can’t see our families, I’ve been saying it would be awesome if we could have true VR. Maybe this would be great.

But…but…I don’t know! This is spoken from the point of view of someone who has never tried this out, but how would I differentiate between the real world sounds and the beamed ones if there’s no physical thing that I can perceive the sounds are coming from? Would I start getting the real ones confused with the virtual ones? Would it mess with my head in terms of what is real and what isn’t? I think about the intensity of TeamTalk where everything seems to be everywhere and wonder if this would be even weirder. I also have visions of my many nightmares where no matter what I do, I can’t get away from a certain sound. I hope I wouldn’t feel that way with this.

The article says there are demos which include swans on a lake, bees buzzing and a babbling brook. If I’m going to try this out and it’s supposed to be super realistic, please don’t give me the sounds of bees buzzing. I might start screaming and running around the room.

But I guess in some circumstances, this could be pretty cool. It’s nice to see more attention being paid to sound instead of just the video.

But on the other hand, I don’t know if I like the idea of people walking around in their own personal sound bubbles so much. People are already in their own little worlds as it is. Do we need them to be even more cut off from the world? Yep, I’m still torn.

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2 Comments

  1. I’m with you on being torn. It would be handy and pretty neat in some circumstances (having podcasts follow me around while I do housework sounds nice), but I feel like it would totally mess up my ability to perceive things properly. I can’t imagine ever using this out in public. On a good day I would walk into people and things left and right, and eventually I would almost certainly be killed by a car I didn’t hear or by walking into an open hole or some shit.

  2. I’m so happy I finally got to hear that Worms song, by the way. It came out in like the early 2000s I think and today is the first day I’ve heard it. They never play it in concert and I could never find it online, not that I looked super hard. I love them, but I wasn’t buying the greatest hits album just to get one song.

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