The Forbes family, a leader in social, economic, and philanthropic sectors, had a vision – bring students of MIT and Stanford together to discuss new technologies through a revolutionary conferencing system. The Forbes Family previously funded both university cafeterias and envisioned connecting students through a dining experience where casual conversation leads to an open exchange of ideas.
The concept was dubbed “the Wormhole.” After testing current market solutions, both universities realized off-the-shelf audio solutions wouldn’t make the grade. In a joint venture, MIT and Stanford consulted and commissioned sound experts Brown Innovations to create a custom, head-set-free system.
Brown developed an innovative conferencing system, ensuring private communication between participants despite noise levels at each café. A spherical sound dome mounted overhead focuses sound directly to each listener. The sphere acts as a lens, creating an audio “hologram” where voices are actually heard as if speakers were floating just outside each listener’s ears. Amazingly, the technology is so precisely focused, only individuals seated at the table can hear audio playing through the speaker. Others just steps away hear virtually nothing.
Another hemispheric lens mounted flush under the table utilizes multiple microphones to selectively collect each individual’s voice. The reflective dome concentrates sound waves from each participant to a corresponding microphone enabling crystal clear reception while minimizing ambient noise.
“Our solution provides an intimate experience for both parties to hear and be heard in any environment.” says Kevin Brown of Brown Innovations. “The technology opens new realms of possibilities for patrons to communicate or socialize privately in noisy public locations such as coffee shops, malls, airports, etc.”