MP3 co-inventor touts new 3D audio tech


— 1:41 AM on July 26, 2004

Karlheinz Brandenburg, co-inventor of the MP3 and director of the Fraunhofer Institute, has developed a new 3D audio technology that raises the bar for realistic three dimensional sound. Dubbed "Iosono," Brandenburg's 3D audio tech aims to reproduce realistic positional audio for everyone in a room, not just those sitting in the "sweet spot" between correctly-positioned speakers.

He and his team are touting their new product as true "three dimensional" audio, which can give the impression of, for example, a horse galloping through the center aisle of a movie theater, or pinpoint a noise so that it sounds exactly like a person shouting from outside theater walls. The best existing surround sound speakers can approximate this only for a small "sweet spot," perhaps a few feet wide, while the Iosono system would create the same realistic illusion for everyone in the room.
Of course, Iosono can require an array of up to 400 speakers, so implementations are quite a bit more complex than even 7.1-speaker home theaters. Iosono licensing runs between $10,000 and $15,000, too, so the technology won't infiltrate mainstream living rooms anytime soon.
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