Metasonixx is a spin-out company building on platform technology that shapes sound in new and innovative ways.
The technology can deliver sounds to specific areas or individuals – potentially to one person in a crowd of thousands – and cancels out unwanted sounds.
The technology, originally developed by researchers at the Interact Lab at the University of Sussex and at the University of Bristol, could help manufacturers to upgrade their products, giving them unprecedented control of the way their products deliver sound.
Currently, noise is managed by mounting a bulky material between the source and the receiver: the larger the material is, the more attenuation is achieved. This solution may be necessary when a lot of noise is present, but is often not practical.
Controlling acoustic fields is currently done with arrays of multiple speakers controlled by complex electronics, a technology that is often bulky and expensive. Metasonixx has developed a potentially much cheaper option, which can be 3D-printed and installed where necessary, or otherwise assembled using any material at all, including wood, plastic, glass or even paperboard.
Metasonixx’s platform technology, which are LEGO-like, pre-manufactured units, which they call ‘metamaterial bricks’, enable companies to improve their products by assembling and manufacturing materials that shape sound. Each brick delays the sound that goes through it, like a person going through a maze, which slows their rate of progress.
Metasonixx’s technology can be used to modify existing products, either by assembling bricks into sleeves that can bend, shape and focus sound waves passing through, or by engineering ‘metamaterial bricks’ into existing geometries. Team Metasonixx is now working on how to exploit multiple ‘sleeves’ to achieve adjustable solutions.
Directing sound for consumer applications
Large versions of the metamaterial bricks could direct or focus sound to a particular location and form areas of silence or audio hotspots, as done with directional loudspeakers. In a car, this would mean the driver could be listening to GPS instructions while the passenger listens to music. In a disco, a metamaterial sleeve over a loudspeaker could create an area of silence where people could chat with their friends without screaming over the music.
Metasonixx is already developing a projector that can transform any speaker into a directional one. It is also developing a blind which could be installed in front of a window to let the air and light through, while blocking out unwanted sounds – perfect for keeping windows open in the summer or in open-office environments.
Metasonixx technology is protected by patent applications in Europe and USA.
The company was incorporated in August 2019.