Technology 3 min read

Researchers Create World's First Sound Projector Using $12 Webcam

Researchers at the University of Sussex invented a sound projector equipped with a face-tracking software that can send sound to a moving target.

The current version of Sussex's acoustic projector. The speaker is contained in the back, together with the tracking camera and one of the acoustic lenses. The part in white is the second acoustic lens in the telescope. | Image Credit: University of Sussex

The current version of Sussex's acoustic projector. The speaker is contained in the back, together with the tracking camera and one of the acoustic lenses. The part in white is the second acoustic lens in the telescope. | Image Credit: University of Sussex

During the 46th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques, a team of researchers demonstrated the world’s first sound projector. The device can track and deliver an acoustic message to a moving individual.

The University of Sussex team, led by Dr. Gianluca Memoli, designed a system that uses an in-house face-tracking software to focus sound on a moving target.

The device can deliver a sphere of sound that’s as much as 6cm in diameter in front of the target using a low-cost camera and two acoustic lenses. It can also respond to the individual’s movement.

But, the best thing about this sound projector may be its cost.

According to second-year undergraduate at Sussex, Joshua Kybett, the acoustic lenses can be 3D printed for only $120. With that in mind, the researchers decided to create a similar low-budget tracking technique. So, they used a $12 webcam, keeping the total cost below $150.

Are you thinking of using the device intrusively? Well, think again.

The system only functions after the message recipients have given their consent. In other words, it’s impossible to deliver sounds to an unwilling audience.

Thomas Graham, a research fellow in the school of Engineering and Informatics, who ran the measurement and simulations, said:

“In our study, we were inspired by autozoom cameras that extend their objectives to match the distance of a target. We used a very similar system, with even the same mechanical sound of the motor. I believe our work is also the first step towards hand-held, low-cost acoustic cameras.”

The Future of the World’s First Sound Projector

At the moment, the sound projector only tracks in one direction and for one octave.

But, the team has expressed interest in expanding the capabilities of the system beyond mere tracking. They intend to scale-up the system to cover most speech, including basic melodies.

The ultimate goal, however, is to deliver a full piece of music using the sound projector. So, the audience could enjoy a more immersive audio experience without using headphones.

Using the sound projector, we could also send a personalized alarm to an individual in a crowd. The device offers limitless applications.

Lead researcher of the project, Dr. Memoli said:

“By designing acoustic materials at a scale smaller than the wavelength of the sound to create thin acoustic lenses, the sky is the limit in new potential acoustic applications.

Read More: Physicists Develop Quantum Microphone to Measure Sound Particles

First AI Web Content Optimization Platform Just for Writers

Found this article interesting?

Let Sumbo Bello know how much you appreciate this article by clicking the heart icon and by sharing this article on social media.


Profile Image

Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

Comments (0)
Most Recent most recent
You
share Scroll to top

Link Copied Successfully

Sign in

Sign in to access your personalized homepage, follow authors and topics you love, and clap for stories that matter to you.

Sign in with Google Sign in with Facebook

By using our site you agree to our privacy policy.