Hooke Audio in Wired.com Innovation Insights

Anthony here, last week I was asked to write about 3D Audio for Wired.com’s Innovation Insights blog.  I’ve attached the post here for you all to read.

Have you ever missed out on seeing your favorite band in town? Or downloaded a live album from your favorite artist, only to find the sound quality is flat and degraded?

I think most people would agree that there is nothing quite like hearing a live performance, but finding headphones or speakers that can mimic such an experience is not only challenging, but expensive.

I’ve been thinking and writing and interacting with sound ever since high school. But everything came to a head when I started to learn about binaural recording or 3D sound, the process of capturing sound identical to the way our human ears do. The result is a recording that makes you feel like you’re there — it captures the entire 360-degree spectrum of hearing. I also soon realized that 3D sound has the potential to play an enormous role in how humans tell stories through sound.

When I first started on this project of bringing the power of 3D recording to the masses, I realized that sound experiences are not just a matter of the right vibration and resonance – it also has to involve understanding people and being able to put them in direct contact with the sound they want to hear.

I also recognized the power of audial storytelling. We are constantly sharing our lives through our mobile devices and while camera technology has improved, audio technology hasn’t. Hooke aims to change that.

After much iteration, I developed a new class of 3D audio headphones, designed to drastically enhance the sound quality heard by listeners. The idea is simple. First the human hasn’t historically cared about sound quality because they’ve never had control. We’ve been sharing sound the wrong way – in 2D. Second, I had to leverage the technology behind binaural recording. Finally, to close the loop, I had to find a way to make it easy and affordable for the user. With Hooke, you can record, edit and trim 3D audio, pair it with your smartphone’s video camera, upload it to your social network and even stream live to friends, all via your smartphone.

The idea is simple, but achieving it required a nuanced combination of design and technology. So I assembled what is without a doubt the finest combination of audio technology. And the results can now speak for themselves.

This past weekend, the Hooke Kickstarter reached its goal of $100,000, further demonstrating the demand for 3D audio. As Hooke enters into the development stage, we will continue our mission of allowing the public to share sound as it was originally intended to be heard — from one ear to another.

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