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Heyser Lecture

AES Amsterdam 2008
Special Event

Sunday, May 18, 18:15 — 19:15
followed by

This year's Heyser Lecturer will be A. J. (Guus) Berkhout.

The Big Challenges in Audio, a glance into the future

Sound is an important information carrier. In speech and music the source carries the message, but in acoustical imaging the message is given by the medium. In all these applications, it is important to realize that sound is a wave phenomenon, often with complex wave fronts and complex time signals. For example, in enclosed spaces wavefields represent an intricate interference pattern of multi-source signals and multi-boundary reflections. Here, audio systems have the important task to enhance the social function of these spaces. If we want to make the next big step in improving audio solutions for demanding listening environments, we should challenge traditional believes and rethink current design methods.

On the one hand, there is the dimension of new technological capability. Wavefield knowledge should have a major impact on the way we develop the next generation of audio products. This technological expedition into the future will lead us to the exciting world of transducer arrays and matrix processors, both for analysis (WFA) and synthesis (WFS) purposes. New functionality will include variable acoustics, focused sound delivery and selective signal enhancement.

On the other hand, there is the dimension of improved user value. For commercial success, technological excellence is necessary but the perceived value by the market is of overriding importance. Knowledge of the changing soft values in society should inspire the new solutions. This human-centred expedition into the future will bring us to the innovative world of integrated audio-optical systems. Examples are the combination of variable acoustics with variable lighting (WFS-plus), the integration of hearing aids with spectacles (‘hearing glasses’) and the connection of optical cameras with highly directional microphones (‘forensic audio products’).

In conclusion, the message of the 2008 Richard C. Heyser Memorial Lecture is: “do not try to predict the future, but have the ambition to create the future”.

Last Updated: 20080613, tendeloo