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The Open Source, Hackable Parametric Speaker.  Focus a beam of sound at objects or into your head!
The Open Source, Hackable Parametric Speaker. Focus a beam of sound at objects or into your head!
612 backers pledged $126,473 to help bring this project to life.

Some things are worth the wait!

I know some of you have been wondering what I have been up to with Soundlazer.  

It's been a long road but I am happy to say, that the first boards for approval have come off the assembly line and everything has tested to work perfectly.  I will be signing off on the production run and both blank and propagated boards should start arriving soon.  

I have added a few features to the Soundlazer based on backer feedback.  These include:

1) High / low power jumper for testing and extended listening.

2) Auto power off so that no ultrasonic energy is emitted unless there is an audio signal present.

3) Test tone output

4) Improved digital amplifier with more effiecint design.

Here is a picture of the final board.  

 I expect to receive the blank boards that backers ordered first so I will be sending out the surveys for those people very soon.   Be sure to fill out all the information so I can get the boards to you quickly.

Thank you to everyone once again for backing the Soundlazer project.



    1. Creator Richard Haberkern on August 10, 2012

      As I mentioned many times here and on the Soundlazer website, the audio you hear is not loud and in the range of normal listening. It is the ultrasonic audio beam that you can't hear that bangs hard on your eardrums. You will actually feel earaches after only a few minutes at 90dB or especially 120dB. The best thing to do is to bounce the sound off a wall while experimenting or listening so most of the audio energy is dissipated.

      Soundlazer is and always has been an experimental device for people to learn about the properties of ultrasonic audio and how sound propegates through air. It is my hope that the backers here on Kickstarter will learn from this technology and improve it so that it becomes a better technology in the future. I look forward to seeing the exciting things people come up with.

    2. Creator Natanael_L on August 10, 2012

      At what distance is it safe to listen to it at 90 dB and 120 dB respectively, over a longer period of time? 80 dB to the ears is usually considered the maximum safe level. I know undirectional sound drops 3/4 the strength when the distance is doubled, which would be about 6 dB. But this is directional, so the math becomes a bit different (no pointlike source in empty space).

      I think you've said something about a few meters for 120 dB (I would assume then that a lot of the energy is lost to the material it hits first, which would be the skin, before the sound reaches the ears). Do you have any more info on this? Can I havr it on 90 dB close to my ears?

    3. Creator Richard Haberkern on August 9, 2012

      The low power output is still about 90 dB. but low enough to keep you from blowing your ears out.

      The board does not split because with the new design, there was less room due to higher component count.

      The board is a 4 layer board with split power and ground planes.

      SW1 is a programable mode switch which is used by Sigma Studio to add filters / compressors or whatever you choose. For those (most people) that aren't kidding the programming kit it will likely be three settings of no filter / high filter / test tone but I haven't decided on the final program scheme. To learn more about how the audio processor works read up on the AU1701. All the data sheets are available on the web.

      JP1 is the high / low power jumper which simply causes the ultrasonic transducers to swing either 100% or 50% through their phase.

      As for the case, aluminum CNC is much cheaper in small quantities although more expensive per piece. I have no plans on coming out with a plastic case and since this is now an open source design, I have no plans on releasing this as one of my regular product lines.

      Source file for Sigma Studio will be published when the final version that goes in all shipped units is complete. For now, I am not releasing anything outside of Kickstarter so keep an eye out for more updates over the next few weeks.

    4. Creator Jake on August 9, 2012

      First, this project looks great! I can see the time and care you put into the design. I can't wait to experiment, and I'll probably be buying my own SigmaStudio enventually to learn even more.

      Just curious, what kind of DB output do you get in low power mode? (I love the idea of a 100% safe power setting. Safe for direct listening for extended periods?)

      Can you still separate the array from the mainboard? I know you were talking about scoring the PCB so you can mount the mainboard behind the array.

      This one's definitely worth the wait!

    5. Creator Werner on August 9, 2012

      Many thanks for the publication of the schematic.
      I have the following questions:
      - How many Layer have your PCB?
      - What function select SW1 ?
      -JP1: what is the function from JP1

      Can you publish the source of the software?

    6. Creator antimix on August 9, 2012

      Is there any plan to release a "poor man pastic box" for people who pledged the kit without the marvellous but very expansive aluminium box ?

    7. Creator Richard Haberkern on August 8, 2012

      I guess because I do electrical and mechanical design for a living, I forget the little details that would interest other people.

      The truth is that electronics design and manufacturing is more of a logistics issue most of the time. The delays with this project have been related to sourcing 20,000 quality piezo transducers from Japan and finding a good CNC shop to make the cases at a reasonable cost. Once a supplier hears a project was successful, their eyes light up with dollar signs if you know what I mean. We had to change the digital audio amp circuit a few times due to long lead times on some of the more specialized ICs. Everything is now finished. I will be laser etching cases, screwing all the parts together and packing everything for shipping over the next few weeks.

      Really nothing else interesting to report but if you have specific questions, I am happy to answer them as best I can.

    8. Creator Glen Murphy on August 8, 2012

      Thanks for the update. One of the things I love about Kickstarter projects is hearing about progress - not just dates and estimates, but more about difficulties and decisions, and why things are the way they are - not sure if that's something you'd be interested in writing, but I'd love to read it if you are.

    9. Creator Richard Haberkern on August 8, 2012

      See my answer above. I will start shipping soon.

    10. Creator Natanael_L on August 8, 2012

      So *assuming* everything goes as planned, when would it be?
      (Not going to throw tomatoes at you if something goes screwey and delays pops up.)

    11. Creator Richard Haberkern on August 8, 2012

      I am staying away form making delivery date promises. This process is complicated and never goes as planned.

    12. Creator Miranda on August 8, 2012

      Looks great! Can't wait to get mine, with the red case. Do you estimate we will be able to get those this month?