Personal Woofer

At a trade show last week, I saw a fascinating new product. It’s called the Immerz from Kor FX. The device looks a lot like a pair of folding headphones, but the difference is that you wear them around your neck so that they rest just below your collarbone. The devices are a pair of haptic transducers that can transmit low frequency sounds directly into your chest cavity. As the name implies, the goal is to give you an immersive experience. And wow does it work!

I had a chance to chat with the inventor, Shahriar Afshar, and his point was that we tend to perceive sounds as being external or internal to ourselves. Our voice is an internal sound, which is why people tend think that recordings of their voice sounds so strange, because it is recorded and played back as an external sound. The transducers can transform an external sound and make it personal by making it come from inside your body. The result is an immersive experience that can put you right in the middle of the action of a movie. I know, because I experienced that effect while watching an iPod. The effect was stunning.

At this point, the device is available in a wired version, designed to be used by an individual in conjunction with a set of headphones. The next version will be wireless, so that many people can share the experience while watching a large screen and hearing the bulk of the sound track through room speakers.

This is definitely a product that you’ll want to track.