This project is the result of experimentation with ultrasonic carrier waves to transmit audio in a directed beam of sound. A few companies around the world have had mixed results with this technology. The goal here has been to build a low cost, open source, parametric array so that experimenters and hobbyist can help take this technology to the next level.
Doing a quick Google search for “parametric speakers” will return a small number of results and little information on exactly how this fascinating technology works. The websites for the few commercially available products do not explain the science or drawbacks such as limited bandwidth in the audio signal, exponential signal drop off through air and the many other factors that make this audio phenomenon difficult to master.
There have been a couple of “homebrew” projects coming out of Japan and other parts of the world with questionable results. Limitations in time, money and expertise in the field of ultrasonics and parametric speaker design have slowed the advances in this field until now.
Introducing the Soundlazer
-the first open source, hackable parametric speaker with integrated DSP (digital signal processor) that offers the best sounding directional audio.
Directional sound that you control
-An on board signal processor conditions the audio from your iPhone, iPod, iPad, computer or any other source. The sound can only be heard by someone standing in the Soundlazer’s path. Like a laser, the parametric array sends the audio signal over a ultrasonic beam which can also be bounced off of walls, statues or any other hard object to make the sound appear to be coming from another direction.
Open Source and Customizable
-All design files and programming instructions are included with each Soundlazer. Those who wish to dig into the inner workings of the device can purchase the Sigma Studio USB programmer and software from Digikey and create their own custom waveforms to improve the sound or expand the Soundlazer to unlimited possibilities.
Join Me On Kickstarter
Because of all the technology and quality of the enclosure, building the first run of this product is going to be a bit pricey. Whether we go with casting the aluminum housing or machining it, the mold cost or machine time is over $25,000 for only 100 pieces. The SMT components also making building these boards by hand impossible. We have lowered the goal to the bare minimum needed to kick this project off the ground. If we are successful, who knows where this will lead. There are many useful applications and we look forward to hearing how you use your Soundlazer.