Harman has managed to solve a problem that has been annoying passengers ever since someone had the great idea of putting an audio system into a car. I’m talking about music selection and the frustration passengers get from having to listen to the driver’s preferred music – or noise, the line is very thin in these cases.
Well, that may be a thing of the past in cars that will feature Harman’s Individual Sound Zones (ISZ) in-cabin technology. That’s because the system enables drivers and passengers to create sonic zones, ensuring that all occupants only hear what matters to them – Archimedes would certainly say “Eureka!” to this one.
While the technology does not eliminate all sound signals that come from outside a particular individual sound zone, it optimizes audio experience for passengers according to their location in the vehicle and current mode of listening.
Harman says ISZ can help reduce interference from portable electronics and in-vehicle technologies like navigation, hands free calling and Bluetooth connections, ensuring that all occupants in the vehicle hear only what matters to them.
Thanks to this system, the music for passengers will no longer be interrupted by navigation prompts and phone calls for the driver. Furthermore, each passenger will be isolated from sounds produced by games, audio books and digital videos coming from other passengers.
So how does the technology work? ISZ utilizes a vehicle’s existing audio system speakers but adds headrest speakers equipped with micro speaker technology, along with thin and flat Electro Dynamic Planar Loudspeakers in the vehicle ceiling.
Harman says the digital signal processing is specifically adjusted to the vehicle cabin and speakers such that it will temper the signals from other zones, regardless of whether they are music, voice or other noises. Each passenger can activate and control their “zone.”
The configuration can be customized based on the cabin design and layout of vehicles, as well as the vehicle’s body style. ISZ can be integrated into any Harman in-car audio system via the amplifier and is available now to all automakers.