Google, like its competitors Amazon and Microsoft, is actively acquiring smaller businesses in order to obtain new talent or intellectual property. Dysonics, a company focusing on 3D audio technology, has been announced as one of Google’s most recent acquisitions.
According to a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the deal took place in December (via Protocol). The company previously released Rondo Motion, a wireless motion sensor for headphones that altered the sound quality depending on how your head was turned (giving you VR-like spatial awareness). At one point, Dysonics worked with Virgin America to introduce its 3D sound to in-flight entertainment systems.
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The filing highlights some of Dysonics’ patent applications, including “Motion tracked binaural sound transfer of legacy recordings,” which was filed in 2013 and registered in 2016. The following is the patent’s description:
Systems and methods are disclosed for a sound reproduction apparatus configured for receiving signals representative of the output of a plurality of microphones positioned to sample a sound field at points representing possible locations of a listener’s left and right ears when positioned in said sound field at the location of the microphones, receiving a location of at least one sound source relative to said plurality of microphones, receiving orientation data of the listener’s head, and calculating a binaural output using the sound source location, microphone output signals and orientation data. The binaural output includes the full-bandwidth of the microphone output signals.
Since Google never revealed its acquisition of Dysonics, it’s unclear what the company’s intentions are. Google will release updated Pixel Buds with 3D audio — new Pixel Buds are currently in the works, but the next iteration is supposed to be more affordable. Dysonics’ technology could be used in a future version of the Pixel Buds, or Google could create over-ear headphones using the device (potentially as a competitor for the AirPods Max).