Sahil Gupta, co-founder and product lead of Soundskrit (soundskrit.ca), delivers an engrossing overview of the future of audio and microphone technology. Gupta received a B.S. and master’s of engineering in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University. Gupta worked intensively in the MEMS lab on the DARPA N-ZERO program to develop important zero-power wireless sensors. His standout work received the highest honors in the advanced, elite program and is currently patent pending. DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It is an agency of the United States Department of Defense that is responsible for the development of new and emerging technologies for use by the military. And DARPA’s N-ZERO program focuses on two primary areas—unattended sensors (that can monitor a physical environment continuously with near-zero power consumption) and radio receivers (that are always alert for radio transmissions, also with near-zero power consumption).
Soundskrit’s mission is to make audio important, so it will no longer be an afterthought. Gupta states that Soundskrit has developed a microphone that can zoom in on the essential sounds that you deem are most important, in a similar manner to how cameras can zoom in on images. Soundskrit’s microphone separates sounds coming in from various, different directions and provides improved speech recognition in addition to more advanced, higher quality recordings. Their bio-inspired design directly measures particle velocity of sound as opposed to its pressure, and that makes a significant difference. Gupta discusses the scalability of this technology and how it relates to sound quality in terms of frequency.
As he explains, it is often challenging to gather all the information in the lower frequency range, thus Soundskrit is perfecting ways to enhance the low end. Gupta details the fascinating auditory systems of insects such as spiders, crickets, and flies, and how they use sensors to monitor the air that passes across hair on their bodies, to detect approaching predators. It was this type of intricate insect ability that inspired Gupta to develop Soundskrit’s primary audio technology.
The audio tech expert discusses autonomous vehicles and other devices that could utilize the technology as it can literally zoom in on sounds to discover their exact source, which facilitates the efficiency of the process for repairing or preventing potential mechanical problems. And Gupta talks about some of the amazing concepts that we could see in the future, such as blended audio—audio that could allow, for example, someone who is walking with headphones to be more aware of incoming sounds that they should hear, such as sirens, etc., for their own safety.
Gupta explains how the technology Soundskrit has developed could be used in many future applications and devices. From smartphone improvements to conference line and meeting room technology, smart home devices and more, Gupta expects to see sweeping changes that will dramatically improve audio and microphone usage.