Binauric, the innovative German company behind the Boom Boom 3D speaker, this week releases a second product with 3D recording capacity: artfully designed, Bluetooth ear buds called OpenEars. Like other ear buds, OpenEars can play music and be used on the go. Yet unlike other music-playing earphones, these allow users to also record – and in binaural, or 3D, sound. Imagine walking the city and capturing the true sound of a musician; running in the park and recording the birds chirping; or lying in a boat and making a recording of the water around you.
“Our ears, like our eyes, perceive the world in 3D,” said Binauric CEO Detlef Wiese. “The image is well ahead of audio when it comes to technological advancements, but we’ve found a way to change this. We started with Boom Boom, a speaker that can play music and record authentic sounds, and now these ear buds will change the sound experience landscape. With OpenEars, people can capture life’s audio – and share these sounds in real time or as a normal file.”
OpenEars allows users to record sound, as it is experienced (in binaural), and then share the sound in real time or as a file. The person on the receiving end, using any kind of headphones, will hear exactly what usually only your own ears perceive – making OpenEars the next step in audible storytelling. Instead of sharing stories via standard, passive methods, OpenEars enables people to create and send multi-sensory memories in 3D.
In addition to binaural recording and playback, OpenEars also:
- HearThrough mode enables listening to your music and ambience at the same time
- Connects with GoPro wirelessly
- Provides outstanding sound quality
- Learns through the app and firmware updates
- Matches recordings and video via the app
- Fits perfectly using ergonomically shaped ear gels and ear wings in a variety of sizes
What is Binaural Audio?
Because of the position and angle of our ears, like our eyes they perceive the world in 3D. There are already a variety of techniques to visually record and watch 3D, but for audio the mass-market evolution is still in its infancy. To understand binaural (“two ears”) sound, first we must explore how we perceive sounds in our natural environment:
The 3 cues to 3D sound
Because our ears are separated, each sound we hear travels a slightly different route. There are three factors which – combined – create this sensation:
- Inter-aural time difference (ITD): depending on the direction where the sound is coming from, it will arrive at one ear before the other.
- Inter-aural level difference (ILD): One ear will perceive a specific sound louder than the other, depending again on the position and proximity of the sound source.
- Masking and head-related transfer functions (HRTFs): The ear furthest away from the sound source will hear a slightly different sound. This happens because sound must travel around the head and in the process it is reflected from other surfaces, further alterations happen upon entering the outer and inner ear.
These three cues of binaural hearing help our brain to analyze the sounds and interpret them in the context of a three-dimensional world.
Evolution from Dummy Head to OpenEars
Previously, the most sophisticated – and expensive – tool to record binaural sound was the Dummy Head, an accurate replica of a human head and ear. Two omni-directional microphones were placed inside the ears and inter-aural time, level differences and head-related transfer function were preserved. The best way to listen to these recordings is via headphones, because they reflect the sound’s direction, depth and details. With OpenEars headphones, we can now record and listen to binaural sounds – in our own ears – without a complex, artificial mechanism.
119 € OpenEars for Earlybirds
249€ OpenEars + OpenMics + Dongle
299€ OpenEars + OpenMics + Dongle + Developer Kit
Final Crowdfunding Day
25 June 2015