Soundlazer Speaker - A Ray of Sound

Posted: April 14, 2012

The Soundlazer is a parametric speaker that harnesses the power of ultrasonic sound. Sounds cool, huh? But, uh, what's a parametric speaker, and how about a refresher on ultrasonic sound? If you're feeling how I felt when I first read about the Soundlazer, check out the video for a visual demonstration of its scientific grandeur. If you're an in-writing kind of person, then, simplistically speaking, the Soundlazer emits a highly focused audible beam that can be heard only by those standing in its direct line of travel. For example, you can position yourself in front of the speaker when you're jonesing to rock out to Whitesnake, but then step a mere foot or two to the side when the head banging pulls a muscle in your neck, and you need silence to nurse your injury.

Soundlazer's technology has been available since the 1960s, but only in the last couple of years has creator Richard Haberkern begun tinkering with the parametric speaker template using modern electrical components, and more cost-effective materials. The project has already reached its Kickstarter funding goal of $48,000, with 35 days still left on the listing. This resounding support has made moving forward a sure thing for Haberkern, so the next step will be making all of the design files and programming information available--gratis, at no charge, free!--on Soundlazer.com. Kickstarter pledges of $175 and up will receive a complete Soundlazer "assembly" kit--basically a fully-assembled speaker without the aluminum case. All cables and power supply are also included.

For the savvy engineers and child prodigies out there, a programming port on the bottom of the Soundlazer will allow for the uploading of customized waveforms and filters to the device's internal microprocessor controlled DSP. (Optional Sigma Studio software and USB programming tools are required, but included with each Soundlazer to those pledging $500 or more).

So what are some of the Soundlazer applications that make it so badass?

  • In addition to directing the ultrasonic wave directly at a person, you can direct it at an object, and listen to the sounds as they bounce off. At a party, bouncing the waves off walls makes for mood-setting, yet subdued background music. Pointing the Soundlazer at Grandpa's buffalo taxidermy makes it sound like the massive sage is addressing the room himself.
  • In subliminal messaging sales plots, retailers can direct specific messages towards individual customers who seem to be considering their products or services. Similarly, a Soundlazer focused on a billboard would communicate a message to anyone standing in front of--but not behind or next to--it.
  • The po can covertly point the speaker at individuals in a crowd, and give warning they are 60 seconds away from ejection/arrest/getting punched in the jugular by the massive boyfriend of the girl whose ass they just "accidentally" brushed.
  • Practical jokers can revolutionize their schtick. The most cleverly devious of us will take one of these babies out on Halloween and creep the F out of our friends. The truly wicked will use it to impart wee trick-or-treaters with a month's worth of nightmares.
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