updated 09:50 am EDT, Mon May 11, 2009
NTT DoCoMo spatial tech
Japanese wireless provider NTT DoCoMo on Monday announced it has developed a spatial audio transmission technology for cellphones that lets users set the spatial direction of callers' voices when in a conference call. For example, callers wearing headphones and talking to two other individuals in a conference call can set one's voice to come from the left speaker and the other from the right, almost as if they're sitting around a table. The technology is still in prototype stages but NTT DoCoMo would like to see it used for conference calls, online gaming and tele-education.
NTT DoCoMo says its spatial audio transmission technology differs from existing ones as it's more efficient, combining audio signal processing and spatial audio synthesis into one process instead of two. This is performed on the server and client sides, with the former compressing it into a single stream and transmitting it, while each phone on the receiving end synthesizes spatial audio images. This minimizes bandwidth and computation loads, which is important in cellphones.
DoCoMo will be demonstrating this technology at the Wireless Technology Park 2009 show in Japan on May 12 and 13.