Cocooning your passengers: Harman individual sound zones

How often do you want to listen to your favourite radio station on a long journey but to keep the peace in the car you have to listen to what the kids want? Family car games had become a thing of the past when in-car technology made leaps in terms of entertainment. We have DVD players, games consoles and even internet connectivity, but now Harman intend to push the boundaries a little further. Presented at the CES in Las Vegas this week, Harman have created an in-cabin technology that will allow you and your passengers to listen to whatever pleases them.

Prompts from the Navigation system and phone calls are not important to the occupants so they are only directed to the driver. Individual sound zones or ISZ helps maximise speaker directivity and minimize cross talk in and between zones. Harman is keen to point out that the speakers in the individual sound zones will not eliminate all sounds so it could sound like you are crossing through different music rooms in a nightclub when sitting in different positions.

“Individual Sound Zones and the HALOsonic technology suite enable automakers to offer enhanced experiences to passengers,” said Michael Mauser, president of Lifestyle Division at Harman.

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Speakers in the headrests equipped with micro speaker technology as well as very thin and flat (6mm deep) Electro Dynamic Planar loudspeakers in the roof lining create these individual zones. This allows the system to temper signals from other zones without distracting the passenger from their choice of entertainment.

Over the past few years, kids have encased themselves in tech by simply plugging in headphones and doing what pleased them. With ISZ, there won’t be need for headphones and by the sounds of things the driver will feel more isolated in the car than ever before.