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.