New transducer turns glasses into headphones without blocking the ear canal
July 26, 2012 // Nick Flaherty
HiWave Technologies in Cambridge has developed and patented a combination of bending wave transducer and electronics that it says can revolutionise the way audio signals are delivered to the listener.
When mounted onto the frames of spectacles, such as those used for 3D gaming, the Farina transducer stimulates the outer ear, or pinna, with a broadband audio signal, turning the spectacles into headsets. The user then hears via a combination of airborne sound and soft tissue conduction into the inner ear.
"Glasses that combine visual and audio input to the user are going to be a huge opportunity for us," said James Lewis, HiWave's CEO. "The goal for our customers will be to create eyewear that incorporates miniaturised display and audio components, and are completely wireless. With Farina audio, the mini-transducers will be embedded into the arms of the glasses where they touch the ears, and the amplifier circuitry will be a single chip that, together with the Bluetooth or other wireless chip will disappear into the frame. Our low-power techniques minimize the battery size so that this to can become an integral part of the frame. I believe that technology will open the eyes of product planners, marketing executives and industrial designers to consumer electronics concepts that have never been possible to implement before."
Farina transducers effectively turn the ear into a micro-loudspeaker but do not block external sounds that are received in the normal way via the ear canal. The human brain is adept at differentiating between the audio sources so the technology is ideal for sensory-immersive applications such as multi-user gaming, and augmented and virtual reality. It also provides safety benefits for sportsmen such as cyclists because they can listen to music on the move whilst maintaining complete awareness of their surroundings, including approaching cars.
The patents filed for the new technology include techniques for delivering multi-octave audio from a vibrating beam of miniaturised dimensions, and the methodology for matching the mechanical impedance of ceramic materials to the soft tissues of the human ear.
HiWave is currently demonstrating proof of concept to large companies and will have production-ready transducers available in Q4 2012. The Farina ceramic vibrating beam measures 25mm x 3mm x 0.6mm and delivers a multi-octave audio frequency range with strong bass and clear mid-to-high frequencies.
Automotive MCU benchmark takes energy efficiency into account
May 21, 2013
Today, cars are crammed with microprocessors, and many of them are not completely switched off when the driver parks and ...
EnSilica partners Cross Border Technologies to boost sales growth in key European markets
Industry's first ultra-wideband Doherty amplifiers support broadband operation
Graphics chip recognizes nearby pedestrians and bicycles
EMS boom for medical industry says analyst
Gemalto teams with Encore Networks for mission critical M2M communications as US shifts to wireless
May 21, 2013
European smartcard specialist Gemalto has teamed up with US machine-to-machine (M2M) router supplier Encore Networks to provide ...
Solar industry capital spending hits seven-year low in 2013 but upturn is on the cards
Apple's overseas tax evasion stirs debate over US tax code
Could Intel enable USD200 Ultrabook?
InterviewWireless control drives Atmel in Europe
Atmel's recent acquisition of Osmo Devices with a WiFi Direct design center in Cambridge and some key microcontroller launches has seen the company focus heavily on wireless control in Europe says Jörg ...
Filter WizardCheck out the Filter Wizard Series of articles by Filter Guru Kendall Castor-Perry which provide invaluable practical Analog Design guidelines.
Linear video channel
READER OFFERRead more
The development platform for i.MX 6Quad from element14 (built to the Freescale SABRE Lite design) is an evaluation platform featuring the powerful i.MX 6Q, a multimedia application processor with Quad ARM Cortex-A9 cores at 1.2 GHz from Freescale Semiconductor.
This month, Freescale and element14 are giving away five such platforms, worth £128.06 each, for EETimes Europe's readers to win. The platform helps evaluate the rich set of peripherals and includes a 10/100/Gb Ethernet port, SATA-II, HDMI v1.4, LVDS, parallel RGB interface, touch screen interface, analog headphone/microphone, micro TF and SD card interface, USB, serial port, JTAG, camera interface, and input keys for Android.
And the winners are...
In our previous reader offer, Pico Technology was giving away one of its recently launched PicoScope 3207B, a 2-channel USB 3.0 oscilloscope worth 1451 Euros. Lucky winner Mr L. Sanchez-Gonzalez from Spain should be receiving his PicoScope 3207B soon. Let's wish them some interesting findings with his projects.
December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974
Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.