Surround sound technology has been with us for quite some time now. Who doesn’t appreciate the immersive and all embracing sound that gives added vividness and vibrancy to 3D graphics and the latest and greatest in video game game play technology? If you already enjoy surround sound-enhanced media, you would know that there is one catch-if you are sitting off-center or if you are in a crowd and you are not in the “sweet spot” for this audio, the sound is not as impressive. This is the achilles heel of surround sound. Based on Microsoft’s latest round of patent filings, it appears the software giant from Redmond Washington may have hit upon a solution. In its application, the company mentions technology that would enable immersive sound even if the listener is sitting outside of the “sweet spot.” It appears so awesome that it apparently works even if the listener is standing. Talk about impressive.
If Microsoft’s audio patent filing above is not awesome enough, it also has filed a patent application for an augmented reality technology which tracks users using a depth camera system. This system then delivers content-specific and accurate 3D audio to that listener regardless of where the listener is located inside a room. In essence, the audio is delivered on an individualized basis and allows for a fully individual audio experience. The camera system collects data on the room and the listener’s position to send out specific audio cues. The applications are quite endless, imagine the system sending instructions for bird sounds, gunshots, instructions from multiplayer game team mates, and other digital signals towards a user’s fluid and unique soundscape. Based on the use of a “depth camera,” it would not be too crazy to speculate that this patent filing has something to do with Microsoft’s Kinect technology. Expect the Xbox to get even more immersive.