Flexound Pulse envelops movie watchers in their own personal sound bubbles
Flexound Augmented Audio has launched the Flexound Pulse, a cinema seating solution that creates a personal sound bubble around movie watchers for the promise of a full-range quality audio experience without the use of external loudspeakers.
The Flexound Augmented Audio vibro-acoustic experience makes use of physical soundwave vibration to generate multisensory audio, and was originally developed to help autistic children. Among the first commercial outings were in movie theater seating, with a cinema in Finland kicking things off in February 2019, followed by the UK's Ferco Seating gaining official certification for two boosted models in June, and TGV Cinemas installing 140 of Ferco's Milano seats in a theater in Malaysia in November. More movie theater installations have followed.
The technology could also enable auto makers to install personalized sound zones in cars, provide driver-only physical feedback, or offer sound massages to vehicle occupants. Use cases for automotive applications were demonstrated at a Hyundai event in December of last year, when the company revealed it was working with a number of automotive brands to bring its full-frequency near-field listening experience to future vehicles.
For the Pulse chair, the Flexound technology comprises a vibrating soundboard and electromagnetic driver are integrated into a seating cushion. The company reckons that folks are able to feel frequencies up to 500 hertz through their bodies, with the hands and skin getting up as far as 1,000 Hz, and the Pulse configuration is said to create a kind of personal listening booth where seated users can hear as well as feel the audio accompanying a movie.
"Unlike loudspeakers that vibrate sound into the air, Flexound Augmented Audio radiates the vibration through foam, providing a soft, near-field listening experience," explained the company.
Flexound Pulse is reported to provide a similar surround sound audio quality and touch sensation for each user, no matter where they're located in the movie theater, and can do so without the theater needing to pump out huge volumes, so sound leakage from room to room should be much lower than with a traditional far-field loudspeaker technology.
"Flexound Pulse makes every chair the 'golden chair' [in the cinema] because it delivers the ideal sound equally to every listener," commented veteran sound engineer Riku Jaro after testing the system.
Beyond cinema and automotive use scenarios, the company says that the Flexound Augmented Audio technology can be embedded into pretty much anything that's soft and comes into contact with the body – so it could find its way into home theaters, gaming chairs, boardroom furniture, shopping mall seating, relaxation therapy rooms, and more.
The Flexound Pulse is reported ready for pre-orders from cinemas, or for licensing to furniture and seating manufacturers. The suitably cinematic promo video below has more.
Source: Flexound Augmented Audio