Directional sound is awesome. Long a feature of cinema and state-of-the-art home entertainment systems, directional sound uses several focused speakers to create sound that hits one ear differently than the other, allowing the brain to figure out which direction the sound is coming from. This has even been heralded as providing the competitive edge to gamers. Now, Raytheon wants to transfer that same edge from gamers to actual warfighters, by making them all a little more like Daredevil.
The technology goes by the flashy name of "3-D audio," and it's being aimed specifically at pilots. Rather than making pilots read visual displays about missiles and enemy fire, Raytheon wants to provide audio warnings that vary in strength and direction based on the attack. This is the Daredevil part: like Marvel's superhero with incredible hearing, Raytheon hopes pilots using 3-D audio will be able to hear and respond to threats instantly.
In addition to using sound for superheroics, Raytheon says 3-D audio could easily sort out normal radio traffic, allowing sound that's coming from different directions to provide different information. That way, the co-pilot's voice always comes from speakers on the side of the cockpit and air traffic control directions always come from speakers mounted in the front. This should prove more intuitive than existing speaker configurations, Raytheon says, making it easier to absorb new information (and harder to screw things up.
Watch a video of the concept below:
This is an example of a very simple idea that could really improve preformance.
No facts, No response...
WoW, I really hear what this article is saying, lol.
This article has it wrong on so many levels.
They are not increasing the ability of the pilot to hear. They are using positional audio to improve the pilots situational awareness. You don't have to have super hearing to know a sound came from behind you. The average person can do this.
Secondly, their system is very different from a home theater system that has a discrete channel for each speaker. They are not going to put surround speakers in the cockpit. Combat aircraft are noisy. The helmets that pilots wear have built-in hearing protection. Any speakers placed in the cockpit will be inaudible.
They are going to us the speakers in the air crew's helmet to project sounds in 3D space. There are subtle differences to sounds coming from behind you verses in front of you, as well as above/below. 3D positional audio digitally alters sounds to trick your brain into thinking it came from a different direction.
This tech has been commercially available since the 90s, so I don't know why they are making a big deal about this. They act like they just invented it.
Yeah, well, they better come up with something to make up for the fact that the F-35 has no rear view from the cockpit. And Lockheed is saying that to change the canopy compromises stealth. I'll just bet that top pilots all over our services can't wait to get one of those slow craft that can't bank that you can't see behind.