11-25 Noveto SoundBeam

[Image above] Israeli audio solutions company Noveto Systems debuted the prototype of a futuristic audio technology that beams sound directly to your ears without the use of headphones. Credit: Associated Press, YouTube

Usually today would feature everyone gearing up for a big turkey feast tomorrow and hours of crazy lines outside stores on Friday. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thanksgiving in the United States is set to look very different this year.

Zoom already announced it will lift the 40-minute time limit starting tonight at midnight Eastern so that families can video chat freely tomorrow. And many major retailers announced at the start of this month that they approached Black Friday as “Black November” instead by offering deals online throughout the month to avoid the in-store shopping crush.

As we all navigate these stressful times, I know many of us look forward with hope to a vaccine, a possibility that looks more promising based on announcements by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company Moderna this month. However, it is likely that things will not return to pre-pandemic “normal” until at least the end of 2021 or into 2022.

If we are still social distancing come the holidays next year, then you should keep your eye out for the release of a new device by Israeli audio solutions company Noveto Systems that would make for a very fitting “distancing” gift.

Noveto recently debuted the prototype of their futuristic audio technology called the SoundBeamer 1.0. The device gets its name for a reason—it beams sound directly to your ears without the use of headphones but with a similar amount of privacy.

The compact, desktop technology works by using a 3D sensing module to locate and track the ear position of a designated person. It then sends audio via ultrasonic waves to create sound pockets by the user’s ears. But if you move outside the pockets, “you cannot get it,” SoundBeamer product manager Ayana Wallwater explains in a video from The Associated Press.

“Sometimes you can hear a little bit of noise. Sometimes you hear just something going on beside you. But you don’t get the volume, you don’t get the immersiveness of the sound experience,” she adds.

While the concept of sound beaming is not new—studies on creating directive low-frequency sound date back to the early 1960s—an AP article on SoundBeamer says Noveto is the first company to launch the directional ultrasound technology as a branded consumer product.

Noveto CEO Christophe Ramstein says a “smaller, sexier” version of the prototype will be ready for consumer release in time for Christmas 2021. If we are all still social distancing then, this device may make for the perfect gift.

Check out the SoundBeamer 1.0 prototype in the video below, which features graphics illustrating the concept of sound beaming and shows the reactions of some people trying the device for the first time.

Credit: Associated Press, YouTube