Hypersound is a new kind of speaker system invented by actual wizards, that uses magic to create a sound that can only be heard when standing in one spot in the room. Take a few steps to the side and the sound vanishes entirely. Stick your head back into the invisible audio bubble and you'll feel like a ghost has slipped a spectral surround sound headset over your ears.
It's the uncanny thing, a kind of sound that's entirely counter-intuitive and in abject defiance of any understanding of how a speaker system should work. Instead of sounds coming out of a box and travelling across the room to your ears, they spring forth from a spooky spot of seemingly haunted air.
The technology on which Hypersound is based was created decades ago by serial inventor (and not an actual wizard) Woody Norris, and its applications vary hugely. For example, the speakers are already being used in stores in the US to advertise Call of Duty solely to any person standing in front of a cardboard cutout of Kevin Spacey, much to the relief of store staff who no longer have to hear the same ten seconds of audio repeated a thousand times during their nine to five shifts.
Hypersound is commercially focused on assisting those with hearing loss. Hypersound can create an area of the room in which, for example, an entertainment system's volume is doubled, allowing those with and without hearing loss to watch and listen together without the use of a more personal and less reliable hearing aid appliance.
That's why Hypersound is to be sold into private, high street audiologists. Hearing loss is increasingly prevalent among younger men and women, and solutions like these physics-defying speakers can present a less intrusive and slightly cooler solution than the current alternatives.
The speakers themselves come as a set of two emitters and an amplifier. The emitters resemble a pair of A4 sized mirrors and work by creating an ultrasonic carrier signal at 44 kilohertz — way beyond the hearing ability of even the cleverest dogs — that can be directed into a straight beam. This invisible, inaudible tube of primed air is ready to have a source signal modulated on top of it. As the source signal comes off the face of the emitter, it travels through the ultrasonic carrier signal and becomes audible at a distance four to six inches from the speaker's surface. The sound then continues down this long, narrow beam.
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