Imagine hearing only the sounds you want to hear. Eliminating background chatter and distraction to improve focus and concentration. Listening exclusively for the sound of your baby crying when they wake. Up until now, we have been using earphones and headphones to listen to sounds without disturbing those around us.
The ability to create a comfortable and efficient remote working environment is front and center for many. There are so many noises in our homes that distract us from the television, gaming, outside traffic, other family members, pets and many more. When on a video call, we do not want the noises in our home to interfere with the work conversation.
However, even at home, we still need to hear some sounds, such as being aware of a package delivery at your front door.
With the ability to let people hear only the sounds they want to hear by cutting out undesired sounds, this innovation could also be applied to many different scenarios.
NTT Research and Development is working on sound control technology to produce a Personalized Sound Zone (PSZ). Developed through accumulating large amounts of data and knowledge on sound collection technology, the research team is looking to extend beyond the mainstream methods for sound generation. We are working to better understand sound-event detection and scene identification and investigate a way to detect specific sounds faster.
PSZ selectively conveys sounds to a person according to the situation, rather than just suppressing all ambient sounds.
A PSZ also uses not only active noise cancelling technologies but also event detection and scene-identification techniques to discriminate between incoming sounds to create a space where only desired sounds are heard and undesired sounds are not heard. For example, someone may prefer not to listen to the sound of a car when they are indoors, but a pedestrian feels safe if they can hear an approaching vehicle.
In the development of PSZ technology, we study control sounds in specific areas by utilizing dedicated speakers and propiertary hardware technologies.
The PSZ is still being conceptualized. However, sound-control technology for containing communication sound inside a zone is already available for commercial use. Airlines could install PSZ’s on planes, allowing passengers to listen to audio playback without bugging the person next to them. Automobile manufacturers could implement PSZ’s in cars, helping drivers and passengers get more from their driving experiences.