Until now, recording high-quality 360° sound or enjoying immersive audio in a home theater was exclusive to users willing to install and operate a multitude of microphones or loudspeakers. Such complex setups will, however, soon be a thing of the past. Thanks to the special algorithms of the Fraunhofer upHear family of technologies capturing and playback of 3D sound is now possible just with a single device.
Enthusiastic viewers use their TV and soundbar to view footage of an automobile race that they recorded with their camera from the side of the race track. The roar of the motors follows the cars on the screen, thunderously panning from left to right across the room. Above them, they hear the stadium announcer commenting on the race, while all around them the spectators cheer the drivers on. It feels as if they are back on the race track. What used to be a science fiction scenario is now reality.
Cameras able to generate 360° images and videos have been around for some time, but their audio recording capabilities have left a great deal to be desired. Compelling 360° sound, unless captured using an elaborate arrangement of microphones, has hardly been an option for everyday users. Meanwhile, soundbars have also been around for some time, but they have only been able to play back basic surround sound. Truly immersive audio as experienced in a movie theater has only been available to Hi-Fi enthusiasts willing to make the effort to equip their living room with an assortment of ear-height and ceiling loudspeakers. For most people, the obstacles of recording true 3D sound or enjoying it at home are simply too big. But even professional producers of 3D (immersive) media content welcome solutions which simplify their work. This is where the upHear technologies developed in our Audio and Media Technologies division come into play, providing user-friendly solutions for a convincing 3D sound experience. All that is needed is a single end device – a microphone or a camera on the production side, and a soundbar on the reproduction side. This way, immersive sound can be enjoyed easily.