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audioXpress Magazine

February 2022


Microphones, Haptics, And The Metaverse
Some notable progress is described in this edition.
Editorial By J. Martins


audioXpress Magazine February 2022


  This February edition of audioXpress always involves working during unusual circumstances, when it looks like half the world is just thinking about the holidays and end of the year festivities, while within our team and our industry circles we are struggling with anticipated deadlines and planning for CES — trying to determine an agenda that will reward us with maximized returns for the following year. I know this will likely sound bizarre considering the timing as you are reading this. But I'm leaving these thoughts here mainly for future memory — and I know I will enjoy reading about it, and looking back at these unusual moments.

After all, the content focus for this edition are microphones and capturing audio and voice at the source — which is something that made more sense back when we thought this would be the issue distributed at the Winter NAMM Show. Of course, for 2022 the NAMM association has already announced that the NAMM Show will take place June 3–5 instead — and that's probably going to be one of the first major audio trade shows to return, if all goes well. In fact, the NAMM should be praised for anticipating the pandemic challenges. While the audio industry overall continued to grow throughout the pandemic, a more detailed look at specific application segments, such as musical instruments and live sound, doesn't paint such an optimistic picture at this time of writing. Right now, extreme measures, such as planning a show to take place six months later than its traditional schedule out of abundance of caution, seems a noble thing to do.

The NAMM Show is the annual "family reunion" of the global music, sound, and entertainment technology industry, and the decision to reconvene in Anaheim, CA, in June 2022 makes sense from a public safety standpoint and was met with support and enthusiasm across the industry. The unpredictability of the industry under these circumstances also means that, while we try to remain as connected as possible to some sort of reality, we've all been virtually connected for two full years now. And not surprisingly, this is having long-lasting effects on technology and what we all prioritize as consumers. Among the technology buzzwords of the moment is the absurd notion of "metaverse," a clear result of pandemic-fatigue.

I believe remote collaboration platforms will evolve with dedicated and unique features, and that we will soon see Augmented Audio and Augmented Reality applications to feel excited about. Technologies that will augment OUR reality — not a dystopian second-life universe with humans connected by virtual reality (VR) goggles. And I believe that the audio industry, and very specifically microphones and voice front-ends, will play a key role in this (for now utopian) concept.


audioXpress Magazine February 2022


As I wrote in The Audio Voice newsletter, I see Audio Augmented Reality (including "superhearing" capabilities) and language translation as very promising applications for the related technologies. Too much money has already been invested in VR device industries that would be better allocated in augmented audio.

Some notable progress is described in this edition of audioXpress, discussing Haptic Devices for Augmentation, Entertainment, and Wellness (a key part of the metaverse, if you care about that), microphone technology, and machine learning contributions for voice recognition. We even intended to expand this edition with an overview of voice front-end solutions and MEMS microphones, but we realized that the intended scope was already too ambitious to be featured in this issue. Therefore, we will be addressing those topics in the March issue, which (believe it or not) we are writing before the end of 2021.

For the April 2022 edition of audioXpress, we will be expanding the focus to the exciting field of true wireless earphones and hearables, where active noise cancellation, voice interfaces, and real-time adaptive processing are propelling the microphone market to new heights.

I know there are already many developers and builders working in this domain, with some of them making their efforts available to the open source community. I believe it's time for some DIY contributions in this field and audioXpress is looking forward to publishing those articles. Please contact editor@audioxpress.com 



J. Martins





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