What role does sound play in augmented reality? Facebook’s FRL research team is testing an AR audio system that can be used to amplify voices and attenuate background noise in real time. AR audio technology could be a key component of Facebook’s experimental AR glasses, which are still in the early stages of development.
Despite its experimental AR glasses, Facebook focuses on social engagement. By incorporating AR audio technology into a pair of Smart Frames, you can, for example, communicate in a noisy bar or turn off the band at a concert while talking to a friend. It sounds like a superpower right?
The FRL research team’s AR glasses contain a number of microphones and are connected to two in-ear monitors – the fancy earphones that musicians use on stage. These microphones use near-wave beamforming technology to capture and isolate nearby noise (including the wearer’s voice), which the wearer can detect by pointing their head at an audio source or by flipping a hardware switch.
Facebook claims that the “perceptual superpowers” generated by its AR glasses could find their way to VR systems like the Oculus Rift. However, unlike Facebook’s AR glasses, the Rift doesn’t improve real-world sounds. Instead, it creates a sound environment that sounds real and allows for better immersion in games.
Facebook’s AR glasses are still an experimental product. The company has not announced any plans to release AR glasses or perceptual audio devices.
Source: Facebook via Engadget