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Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

INTRODUCTION
Hi-fi speakers range from piezoelectric tweeters to various kind of mid-range
speakers and woofers which

generally rely on circuits and large enclosures to

produce quality sound, whether it dynamic, electrostatic or some other transducer-based


design. Engineers have struggled for nearly a century to produce a speaker design with
the ideal 20Hz-20,000Hz capability of human hearing and also produce a narrow beam
of audible sound.
Audio spot lighting is a very recent technology that creates focused beams of
sound similar to light beams coming out of a flash light. Specific listeners can be
targeted with sound without others nearby hearing it, i.e. to focus the sound into a
coherent and highly directional beam. It makes use of non-linearity property of air.
The Audio spotlight developed by American Technology Corporation uses
ultrasonic energy to create extremely narrow beams of sound that behaves like beam of
light. Audio spotlight exploits the property of non-linearity of air. A device known as
parametric array employs the non-linearity of the air to create audible by products from
inaudible ultrasound, resulting in extremely directive and beam like sound. This source
can projected about an area much like a spotlight and creates an actual specialized sound
distant from a transducer. The ultrasound column acts as a airborne speaker, and as the
beam moves through the air gradual distortion takes place in a predictable way. This
gives rise to audible components that can be accurately predicted and precisely
controlled.

Dept. Of AE

MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

WHAT IS AUDIO SPOTLIGHTING?


The Audio Spotlight & Hyper Sonic Sound Technology (developed by American
Technology Corporation), uses ultrasonic energy to create extremely narrow beams of
sound that behave like beams of light. Audio spotlighting exploits the property of nonlinearity of air. When inaudible ultrasound pulses are fired into the air, it spontaneously
converts the inaudible ultrasound into audible sound tones, hence proved that as with
water, sound propagation in air is just as non-linear, and can be calculated
mathematically. A device known as a parametric array employs the non-linearity of the
air to create audible by-products from inaudible ultrasound, resulting in an extremely
directive, beamlike wide-band acoustical source. This source can be projected about an
area much like a spotlight, and creates an actual specialized sound distant from the
transducer. The ultrasound column acts as an airborne speaker, and as the beam moves
through the air, gradual distortion takes place in a predictable way. This gives rise to
audible components that can be accurately predicted and precisely controlled.

Dept. Of AE

MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

THEORY
What ordinary audible sound & Conventional Loud Speakers lack? What we
need?
About a half-dozen commonly used speaker types are in general use today. They
range from piezoelectric tweeters that recreate the high end of the audio spectrum, to
various kinds of mid-range speakers and woofers that produce the lower frequencies.
Even the most sophisticated hi-fi speakers have a difficult time in reproducing clean
bass, and generally rely on a large woofer/enclosure combination to assist in the task.
Whether they be dynamic, electrostatic, or some other transducer-based design, all
loudspeakers today have one thing in common: they are direct radiating-- that is, they
are fundamentally a piston-like device designed to directly pump air molecules into
motion to create the audible sound waves we hear. The audible portions of sound tend to
spread out in all directions from the point of origin. They do not travel as narrow
beamswhich is why you dont need to be right in front of a radio to hear music. In
fact, the beam angle of audible sound is very wide, just about 360 degrees. This
effectively means the sound that you hear will be propagated through air equally in all
directions.
In order to focus sound into a narrow beam, you need to maintain a low beam
angle that is dictated by wavelength. The smaller the wavelength, the less the beam
angle, and hence, the more focused the sound. Unfortunately, most of the human-audible
sound is a mixture of signals with varying wavelengthsbetween 2cms to 17 meters
(the human hearing ranges from a frequency of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz). Hence, except for
very low wavelengths, just about the entire audible spectrum tends to spread out at 360
degrees. To create a narrow sound beam, the aperture size of the source also mattersa
large loudspeaker will focus sound over a smaller area. If the source loudspeaker can be
made several times bigger than the wavelength of the sound transmitted, then a finely
focused beam can be created. The problem here is that this is not a very practical
solution. To ensure that the shortest audible wavelengths are focused into a beam, a
loudspeaker about 10 meters across is required, and to guarantee that all the audible
wavelengths are focused, even bigger loudspeakers are needed.

Dept. Of AE

MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

Here comes the acoustical device AUDIO SPOTLIGHT invented by


Holosonics Labs founder Dr. F. Joseph Pompei (while a graduate student at MIT), who
is the master brain behind the development of this technology.

FIG.1:-AUDIO SPOTLIGHT CREATES FOCUSED BEAM OF SOUND UNLIKE


CONVENTIONAL LOUD SPEAKERS

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MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

Audio spotlight looks like a disc-shaped loudspeaker, trailing a wire, with a small laser
guide-beam mounted in the middle. When one points the flat side of the disc in your
direction, you hear whatever sound he's chosen to play for you perhaps jazz from a
CD. But when he turns the disc away, the sound fades almost to nothing. It's markedly
different from a conventional speaker, whose orientation makes much less difference.

FIG.2:- F.JOSEPH POMPEI AT THE MEDIA LAB OF THE MASSACHUSETTS


INSTITUTE

OF

TECHNOLOGY

DEMONSTRATES

HOW

INVISIBLE

ULTRASONIC WAVES, AS ILLUSTRATED HERE, COULD HELP "STEER"


SOUND.

Dept. Of AE

MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW
The technique of using a nonlinear interaction of high-frequency waves to generate
low-frequency waves was originally pioneered by researchers developing underwater
sonar techniques in 1960s. In 1975, an article cited the nonlinear effects occurring in
air. Over the next two decades, several large companies including Panasonic and Ricoh
attempted to develop a loudspeaker using this principle. They were successful in
producing some sort of sound but with higher level of distortion (>50%). In 1990s,
Woody Norris a Radar Technician solved the parametric problems of this technology.
Audio spotlighting works by emitting harmless high frequency ultrasonic tones that
human hear cannot hear. It uses ultrasonic energy to create extremely narrow beams of
sound that behave like beams of light. Ultrasonic sound is that sound which have very
small wavelength-in the millimeter range. These tones make use of non-linearity
property of air to produce new tones that are within the range of human hearing which
results in audible sound. The sound is created indirectly in air by down converting the
ultrasonic energy into the frequency spectrum we can hear.
In an audio spotlighting sound system there are no voice coils, cones or
enclosures. The result is sound with a potential purity and fidelity which we attained
never before. Sound quality is no longer tied to speaker size. This sound system holds
the promise of replacing conventional speakers in homes, movie theaters and
automobile-everywhere.

Dept. Of AE

MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

FIG 3: CONVENTIONAL SPEAKERS

FIG 4: AUDIO SPOTLIGHTING


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MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

RANGE OF HEARING
The human ear is sensitive to frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000Hz. If
the range of human hearing is expressed as a percentage of shift from the lowest audible
frequency to the highest it spans a range of 100,000 percent. No single loudspeaker
element can operate efficiently over such a wide range of frequencies.
Using this technology it is possible to design a perfect transducer which can
work over a wide range of frequency which is audible to human hear.

FIG 5:RANGE OF HEARING

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MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

WORKING
The original low frequency sound wave such as human speech or a music is applied
into an audio spotlight emitter device. This low frequency signal is frequency modulated
with ultrasonic frequencies ranging from 21 KHz to 28KHz. The output of the modulator
will be the modulated form of original sound wave. Since ultrasonic frequency is used
the wavelength of the combined signal will be the order of few millimeters. Since the
wavelength is smaller the beam angle will be around 3 degree, as a result the sound
beam will be a narrow one with a small dispersion.

FIG 6:AUDIO SPOTLIGHTING EMITTER

While the frequency modulated signal travels through the air, the nonlinearity
property of air comes into action which slightly changes the sound wave. If there is a
change in a sound wave, new sound are formed within the wave. Therefore if we know
how the air affects the sound waves, We can predict exactly what new
frequencies(sounds) will be added into the sound wave by the air itself. The new sound
signal generated within the ultrasonic sound wave will be the corresponding to the
original information signal with a frequency in the range of 20Hz to 20KHz will be
produced within the ultrasonic sound wave.
Dept. Of AE

MPTC Mala, Kallettumkara

Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

Since we cannot hear the ultrasonic sound wave we only hear the new sounds
that are formed by non-linear action of the air. Thus in an audio spotlighting there are no
actual speakers that produce the sound but the ultrasonic envelope acts as the airborne
speaker.

FIG 7:DIRECTIVITY

The new sound produced virtually has no distortions associated with it and
faithful reproduction of sound is freed from bulky enclosures. There are no woofers or
crossovers. This technology is similar in that you can direct the ultrasonic emitter
towards a hard surface, a wall for instance and the listener perceives the sound as
coming from the spot on the wall. The listener does not perceive the sound as emanating
from the face of the transducer, but only form the reflection of the wall.

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Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

For the maximum volume (sound level) that trade show use demands, it is
recommended that the Audio Spotlight speaker, more accurately called a transducer, is
mounted no more than 3 meters from the average listeners ears, or 5 meters in the air.
The mounting hardware is constructed with a ball joint so that the Audio Spotlights are
easily aimed wherever the sound is desired.

FIG 8:COMPUTER SIMULATION OF SOUND BEAM

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Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

BEAM DISPERSION

FIG 9:DISPERSION OF SOUND BEAM

Figure shows the dispersion of sound beam from an audio spotlighting emitter. Even
after traveling a distance of 10m the beam covers only an area of 3.2 meters.

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Seminar Report 2013-14

Audio Spotlighting

COMPONENTS OF AUDIO SPOTLIGHTING SYSTEM


1.

Power Supply

2.

Frequency Oscillator

3.

Modulator

4.

Audio Signal Processor

5.

Microcontroller

6.

Ultrasonic Amplifier

7.

Transducer

FIG 10:BLOCK DIAGRAM OF AN AUDIO SPOTLIGHTING SYSTEM

1.

Power Supply: Like all electronic systems, the audio spotlighting system works off DC
voltage. Ultrasonic amplifier requires 48V DC supply for its working and low voltage
for microcontroller unit and other process management.

2.

Frequency Oscillator: The frequency oscillator generates ultrasonic frequency signals


in the range of (21,000 Hz to 28,000 Hz) which is required for the modulation of
information signals.
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Seminar Report 2013-14

3.

Audio Spotlighting

Modulator: In order to convert the source signal material into ultrasonic signal a
modulation scheme is required which is achieved through a modulator. In addition, error
correction is needed to reduce distortion without loss of efficiency. By using a DSB
modulator the modulation index can be reduced to decrease distortion.

4.

Audio Signal Processor: The audio signal is sent to electronic signal processor circuit
where equalization and distortion control are performed in order to produce a good
quality sound signal.

5.

Microcontroller: A dedicated microcontroller circuit takes care of the functional


management of the system. In the future version, it is expected that the whole process
like functional management, signal processing, double side band modulation and even
switch mode power supply would be effectively taken care of by a single embedded IC.

6.

Ultrasonic Amplifier: High-efficiency ultrasonic power amplifiers amplifies the


frequency modulated wave in order to match the impedance of the integrated
transducers. So that the output of the emitter will be more powerful and can cover more
distance.

7.

Transducers: It is 1.27 cm thick and 17m diameter. It is capable of producing


audibility up to 200 meters with better clarity of sound. It has the ability of real time
sound reproduction with zero lag. It can be wall, overhead or flush mounted. These
transducers are arranged in form of an array called parametric array in order to propagate
the ultrasonic signals from the emitter and thereby to exploit the nonlinearity property of
air.

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Audio Spotlighting

FIG 11:PARAMETRIC LOUDSPEAKER

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Audio Spotlighting

MODES OF LISTENING
There are two modes of listening:
1.

Direct Mode

2.

Projected Mode

FIG 12:DIRECTED AUDIO AND PROJECTED AUDIO

Direct Mode: Direct mode requires a clear line of approach from the sound system unit
to the point where the listener can hear the audio. To restrict the audio in a specific area
this method is appropriate.

Projected or Virtual Mode: This mode requires an unbroken line of approach from the
emitter of audio spotlighting system, so the emitter is pointed at the spot where the is to
be heard. For this mode of operation the sound beam from an emitter is made to reflect
from a reflecting surface such as a wall surface or a diffuser surface. A virtual sound
creates an illusion of sound source that emanates from a surface or direction where no
physical loudspeaker is present.

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Audio Spotlighting

ADVANTAGES
1.

Can focus sound only at the place you want.

2.

Ultrasonic emitter devices are thin and flat and do not require a mounting
cabinet.

3.

The focused or directed sound travels much faster in a straight line than
conventional loudspeaker.

4.

Dispersion can be controlled-very narrow or wider to cover more listening


area.

5.

Can reduce or eliminate the feedback from microphones.

6.

Highly cost effective as the maintenance required is less as compared to


conventional loud speakers and have linger life span.

7.

Requires only same power as required for regular speakers.

8.

There is no lag in reproducing the sound.

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Audio Spotlighting

APPLICATIONS
1.

Automobiles: Beam alert signals can be directly propagated from an announcement


device in the dashboard to the driver. Presently Mercedes-Benz buses are fitted with
audio spotlighting speakers so that individual travelers can enjoy the music of there on
interest.

2.

Safety Officials: Portable audio spotlighting device for communicating with a specific
person in a crowd of people.

3.

Retail Sales: Provide targeted advertising directly as the point of purchase

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4.

Audio Spotlighting

Public Announcement: Highly focused announcement _in noisy environments such as


subways, airports, amusement parks, traffic intersections etc.

5.

Emergency Rescue: Rescuers can communicate with endangered people far from reach.

6.

Military Applications: Ship to- ship communications and shipboard announcement.

7.

Entertainment System: In home theatre system rear speakers can be eliminated by the
implementation of audio spotlighting and the properties of sound can be improved.

8.
9.

Museums: In museums audio spotlight can be used to describe about a particular object
to a person standing in front it, so that the other person standing in front of another
object will not be hear the description.

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10.

Audio Spotlighting

Audio/Video conferencing: Project the audio from a conference in four different


languages, form a single central device without the need for headphones.

11.
12.

Sound Bullet: Jack the sound level 50 times the human threshold of pain, and an
offshoot of audio spotlighting sound technology becomes non- lethal weapon.

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Audio Spotlighting

FUTURE OF AUDIO SPOTLIGHT


Even the best loudspeakers are subject to distortion and their omni directional sound
is annoying to the people in the vicinity who do no wish to listen.
Audio spotlighting system holds the promise of replacing conventional speakers. It
allows the user to control the direction of propagation of sound. The audio spotlight
will force people to rethink their relationship with sound. Audio spotlighting really
put sound where you want it.

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Audio Spotlighting

CONCLUSION

Audio spotlighting is really going to make a revolution in sound transmission


and the user can decide the path in which audio signal should propagate. Due to the
unidirectional propagation it finds application in large number of fields. Audio
spotlighting system is going to shape the future of sound and will serve our ears with
magical experience.

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Audio Spotlighting

REFERENCES
www.thinkdigit.com

www.abcNEWS.com

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