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Next gen headset platform delivers audio without obstructing the ear

Next gen headset platform delivers audio without obstructing the ear

A new type of audio transducer has been developed by HiWave that can provide clear audio playback without obstructing the ear canal.

Called the Farina platform, the company says it can be embedded into the frame of sports, augmented reality or 3d glasses to turn them into full multimedia headsets.

Using a combination of bending wave transducers and electronics, the platform works by stimulating the outer ear with a broadband audio signal so users hear the sounds via a fusion of airborne sound and soft tissue conduction in the inner ear. The company says this has potential health benefits as it does not generate damaging pressure transients inside the ear like many ear phone buds.

By not blocking external sounds, the technology could be used for sensory immersive applications such as gaming and virtual reality. The company says this also adds an element of safety as users can maintain complete awareness of their surroundings.

"The goal for our customers will be to create eyewear that incorporates miniaturised display and audio components and are completely wireless," commented HiWave's ceo James Lewis. "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."

HiWave hopes to have production ready transducers available in Q4 2012.

Simon Fogg

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