Going Ultra: Klang Ultrasonic Speakers

Going Ultra: Klang Ultrasonic speakers Industrial designer Adam Moller'concept speakers are cut from a different billet. The idea behind the Klang Ultrasonic speakers came from an invention by Lemelson-MIT Prize-winner Woody Norris. Norris's HyperSonic Sound generates ultrasonic waves - as in, above the range humans can hear - that are modulated in very specific ways to create an audible sound. According to Norris's website, this is described as if you take a 200,000 Hz signal, and a 200,262 Hz signal, the 200,000 part gets effectively cancelled out, leaving the 262 Hz, or middle C (incorrectly labeled on the site as 263 Hz, but whatever).

The effect is extremely directional, as the wave interactions will only create sound in one narrow direction. So if you're off to either side, you don't hear anything (though your dog probably will).

For a desktop audio system, this could be fantastic, as you hear audio, but your coworkers don't hear a thing. Or you could be listening to some tunes, then lean outside of the audible window to answer a phone call.

The Klang Ultrasonic speakers function on this HyperSonic Sound philosophy, with brass reflecting dishes instead of the traditional speaker cones.

Moller claims that by moving the signal source spheres towards or away from the reflecting dishes, the sound can be focused towards the listener, or broadened to fill the room.

If the Klang's will ever be built, or if your dog will hate them, remains to be seen. But as a technical exercise, Moller certainly has peeked the imagination of audiophiles.

Check out more on the Klang Ultrasonic Speakers.

You can read more about Norris's Lemelson-MIT Price ($500,000!) here.

More on "Sound from Ultrasound" on Wikipedia.

And the fascinating Elwood "Woody" Norris's webpage.