High-quality sound in the farthest corner of the concert hall - how is that possible?

Imagine you are standing in the middle of a noisy crowd.and you can perfectly hear a person standing ten meters away from you - and all this without using a telephone. Or, imagine a different situation where you sit in the farthest corner of the concert hall and hear the same high-quality sound as the people in the front rows. Researchers from the universities of Sussex and Bristol propose to translate these pictures into reality with the help of acoustic lenses, which direct the sound to certain places just like sniper sights and narrow rays of light.

Researchers have already demonstrated similardevice made of dynamic composite material. It is called "Vari-sound", and is an analogue of the optical lens with a variable focal length, but working with sound waves. They also used a collimator, which is able to transmit sound from the speakers in the form of a narrow directional beam. As an example, an acoustic collimator can implement the “man in the crowd” scenario, passing his voice straight to the other person.

In the future, acoustic metamaterials maychange the way sound is transmitted at concerts and in theaters, ensuring that everyone really gets the sound he paid for. We are developing a technology that can provide better sound than headphones.

Letitia Chisari, an employee of the University of Sussex

Researchers see other scenariosusing this kind of devices. The technology can even be used in such electronics as Amazon Echo voice assistants — only commands coming from certain places in the house, such as a sofa or a kitchen, could be received by a speaker. Also, with the help of it, you can train a technician to separate some sounds from others, preventing false alarms of security systems.

Of course, such technologies already exist,but the transition from complex electronics to composite materials can significantly reduce costs. The researchers explained that acoustic lenses can be made from plastic, paper, wood, or rubber — sound is formed by internal geometry. They will be compatible with existing speakers and microphones, that is, owners of cinemas and concert halls will not have to buy anything new.

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