A new car stereo system from Harman is said to enable passengers to hear "only what matters to them".
The newly announced Harman Individual Sound Zones uses micro-speaker technology to reduce "sonic clutter" caused by personal electronic devices, navigation systems and phone calls. Because, according to Harman, not all sounds are relevant to all passengers, the new speaker system allows occupants to hear what they need to hear.
The system works by maximising "speaker directivity", while also minimising "crosstalk in and between the zones in a vehicle" - that means passengers are able to "activate and control their 'zone'". The existing audio system (be it in a sedan, SUV or other type of vehicle) forms the basis for the technology, but complementary headrest speakers with micro-speaker units and ceiling-mounted loudspeakers are designed to cocoon individual occupants in their own zones.
It won't cancel out all other noise from the cabin, according to Harman, but the company says Individual Sound Zones tune individual zones so that "sounds are controlled in a way that limits the interruptions and distractions to each passenger’s own sound experience".
“Individual Sound Zones and the HALOsonic technology suite enable automakers to offer enhanced experiences to passengers, as well as imagine new possibilities as the car itself continues to evolve in use beyond the traditional ‘people mover’,” said Harman lifestyle division president Michael Mauser.
“With Harman’s science-based architecture and acoustic precision, we’re pushing the barriers of sound and creating the ultimate personalised experience throughout the vehicle cabin.”
There is no indication at this point as to when the system will be rolled out in production guise.