EP1284586B1 - Method and system for directional sound generation - Google Patents

Method and system for directional sound generation Download PDF

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Publication number
EP1284586B1
EP1284586B1 EP20020017268 EP02017268A EP1284586B1 EP 1284586 B1 EP1284586 B1 EP 1284586B1 EP 20020017268 EP20020017268 EP 20020017268 EP 02017268 A EP02017268 A EP 02017268A EP 1284586 B1 EP1284586 B1 EP 1284586B1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
reflector
characterized
apparatus according
ultrasound
listener
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired - Fee Related
Application number
EP20020017268
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP1284586A3 (en
EP1284586A2 (en
Inventor
Guido Kolano
Klaus Dr. Linhard
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Daimler AG
Original Assignee
DaimlerChrysler AG
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to DE10140646 priority Critical
Priority to DE2001140646 priority patent/DE10140646C2/en
Application filed by DaimlerChrysler AG filed Critical DaimlerChrysler AG
Publication of EP1284586A2 publication Critical patent/EP1284586A2/en
Publication of EP1284586A3 publication Critical patent/EP1284586A3/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP1284586B1 publication Critical patent/EP1284586B1/en
Application status is Expired - Fee Related legal-status Critical
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R1/00Details of transducers, loudspeakers or microphones
    • H04R1/20Arrangements for obtaining desired frequency or directional characteristics
    • H04R1/32Arrangements for obtaining desired frequency or directional characteristics for obtaining desired directional characteristic only
    • H04R1/34Arrangements for obtaining desired frequency or directional characteristics for obtaining desired directional characteristic only by using a single transducer with sound reflecting, diffracting, directing or guiding means
    • H04R1/345Arrangements for obtaining desired frequency or directional characteristics for obtaining desired directional characteristic only by using a single transducer with sound reflecting, diffracting, directing or guiding means for loudspeakers
    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10KSOUND-PRODUCING DEVICES; METHODS OR DEVICES FOR PROTECTING AGAINST, OR FOR DAMPING, NOISE OR OTHER ACOUSTIC WAVES IN GENERAL; ACOUSTICS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G10K11/00Methods or devices for transmitting, conducting or directing sound in general; Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general
    • G10K11/18Methods or devices for transmitting, conducting, or directing sound
    • G10K11/26Sound-focusing or directing, e.g. scanning
    • G10K11/28Sound-focusing or directing, e.g. scanning using reflection, e.g. parabolic reflector
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2217/00Details of magnetostrictive, piezo-electric, or electrostrictive transducers covered by H04R15/00 or H04R17/00 but not provided for in any of their subgroups
    • H04R2217/03Parametric transducers where sound is generated or captured by the acoustic demodulation of amplitude modulated ultrasonic waves

Description

  • The invention relates to systems with which acoustic signals (such as speech, music) can be generated. In particular, the invention relates to systems in which the acoustic signals are emitted in a concentrated manner in one direction.
  • Conventional systems in which the audio signal is emitted as air vibration directly via individual speakers or a loudspeaker array, can only achieve a relatively limited bundling of sound radiation. In a new method, on the other hand, the audio signal not emitted directly, but as a change in Amlitude (amplitude modulation, AM) of a carrier vibration of very high frequency (ultrasound). The underlying physical phenomenon of the acoustic perception of sum and difference tones as a consequence of nonlinear properties of the air was already recognized and investigated by the physicist Helmholtz in the 19th century. The application of physical principles to the construction of an ultrasonic / audio speaker is described by Yoneyama, Fujimoto, Kawamo and Sasabe in 'The audio spotlight: An application of nonlinear interaction of sound waves to a new type of loudspeaker design', in Journal of the Acustic Society of America, 1983, pages 1532-1536.
  • An ultrasound / audio loudspeaker first generates a carrier signal with a frequency that is above the upper limit of human hearing, ie in the ultrasound range. To generate audible sound vibrations, the carrier signal is amplitude modulated with the audio signal to be transmitted. Since the ultrasound carrier signal itself is not audible, it can be emitted with high sound pressure. At these high sound pressures, the air behaves non-linearly and thus acts as a demodulator that demodulates the AM signal and thus recreates the audio signal as air vibration in the audible range. Since the audible audio signal arises in the medium air itself first, its volume with the distance from the transmitter (ultrasonic speaker) initially increases steadily and will then decrease due to the absorption of air in the greater distance again.
  • In this case, the spatial direction or bundling of the generated audio signal, which is lateral to the emission direction, depends on the bundling of the ultrasound carrier signal (opening angle of the emitted ultrachall cone) and i.a. slightly larger than the ultrasound range. This can lead to unwanted reflections on objects, especially in confined spaces (vehicle interior). Also, the acoustic restriction to only one specific listener (e.g., choosing individual hearing programs of different occupants in the vehicle) is hardly achievable because of the lateral broadening of the audio signal.
  • It is essential in such systems with modulated ultrasonic signal that a certain distance from the transmitter is required to produce audible signals. The distance can be in practical systems at about 20 cm to about 1 m, so that when using in confined spaces (eg in vehicles) special technical problems (compliance with the minimum distance between the ultrasonic speaker and handset, good adjustment of the audio sound on the respective listener, etc.) can occur.
  • From the document DE 196 28 849 A1 a directional radiator is known, which is provided with a parabolic reflector to direct a listener and bundled to sonicate. The spotlight is aimed directly at the listener.
  • A system for targeted sonication of partial areas within a total area is described in DE 42 30 362 A1. In this case, ultrasound carrier signals modulated by a group of loudspeakers with an audio signal are transmitted to a listener.
  • Another disadvantage is the need to radiate the ultrasound carrier signal with high intensity, since only at a correspondingly high sound pressure non-linear properties of the air occur, which are required for the demodulation of the audio signals. In practical systems, an audio level of about 130dB (A) is required to produce low-to-medium volume audio. The usual level for audible sound (music, speech) is in the range of about 30 to 90 dB (A). Health effects of very high levels of ultrasound on humans have not been conclusively explored. Particularly when used in vehicles (where, where necessary, several ultrasonic transmitters can also be active at the same time in order to produce different audio signals for different occupants), the high ultrasonic levels could possibly lead to undesirable side effects.
  • US Pat. No. 4,823,908 A1 discloses a device for the directional sounding of a receiver with acoustically perceptible audio sound, in which the sound waves emanating from an ultrasound transmitter are weakened in its energy by a filter medium mounted in close proximity to space. In this way, the intensity of the ultrasonic carrier signal is greatly reduced before reaching the listener.
  • From document JP 03252299 (abstract), a comparable sounding device is known, wherein here, as an alternative, it is proposed to apply the filter medium to a reflector guiding the ultrasound carrier signal, which is in spatial proximity to the ultrasound transmitter.
  • Based on this prior art, the present invention has the object to find an improved device for the directed emission of audio sound, which provides good design possibilities in the spatial placement of heavy and voluminous components of the system.
  • This object is achieved with a device having the features of claim 1. Further details of the invention and advantages of various embodiments will be apparent from the features of the dependent claims.
  • The method and the corresponding device according to the invention will be described below with reference to a preferred embodiment, reference being made to the figures and reference numerals therein.
  • It shows:
  • Illustration 1:
    A common system for directional audio sonication by modulation of high level ultrasound.
    Figure 2:
    A diagram showing the bundling of the sound radiation as a function of the frequency.
    Figure 3:
    A system according to the inventive method with a reflector between the sound source and the listener.
    Figure 4:
    An example of a use of the system according to the invention in a car.
  • In the device according to the invention, an amplitude-modulated ultrasound signal is first radiated by an ultrasound transmitter with a conventional system, whereby the ultrasound propagates in the form of a focused sound cone. Figure 1 shows schematically such an arrangement. The ultrasonic transmitter (1) generates the amplitude-modulated carrier signal, which propagates in the form of a bundled ultrasonic cone (2). Due to the high sound pressure inside the ultrasonic cone, the audio sound is generated (3), also in a conical area. Both sound cones reach the listener (4), which is located at a distance to the transmitter, which is required for the demodulation of the audio signal.
  • In general, the carrier signal is bundled more concentrated, that is, the ultrasonic cone has, as shown in Figure 2, a smaller opening angle with respect to the area of the audio sound. In this case, different frequencies of the audible audio sound are generally spatially concentrated differently. Figure 2 shows this spatial distribution of sound radiation as a function of the sound frequency. Shown are measurement results on an ultrasonic transmitter with a frequency of the carrier signal of 127 kHz and two different frequencies of the audio signal demodulated in the air. In the Y direction, the measured dB value of the power and in the X direction the radiation angle in degrees. The angle of 90 degrees in this illustration corresponds to the main direction of the sound radiation (axis of the sound cone).
  • In the device according to the invention, it is now prevented that the intensive ultrasound carrier signal reaches the ear of the listener directly. For this purpose, a reflector (5) at a distance from the ultrasonic transmitter (1) in the ultrasonic cone (2) is introduced so that the sound is deflected in a new direction. Figure 3 shows a corresponding arrangement, wherein the sound cone of the ultrasonic carrier signal (2) and the sound cone of the audio signal (3) are shown.
  • The device according to the invention has the advantage that the audio signal (3) relayed by the reflector (5) can be bundled onto the receiver (4). This is preferably done by appropriate shaping of the reflector (5), which is formed for example as a concave surface (dome). Thus, even in confined spaces (vehicle) a good concentration of the reflected sound (3) on a narrow space area (head of a single listener) can be achieved. Ideally, only the ear of each listener is reached in order to avoid further reflections on the head of the listener as possible.
  • Due to the reflection in addition, the required minimum distance for generating the demodulated audio signal (3) is not necessary as a direct, linear free distance between the ultrasonic transmitter (1) and receiver (4), but can also be angled by appropriate inclination of the reflector (5) be that one possibly only minor available space is sufficient. In another embodiment, a plurality of reflectors (5) can be set one after another and successively forward the sound, so that the required distance is achieved by multiple reflection (not shown).
  • A particular advantage is the ability to separate the audio signal (3) from the ultrasound carrier signal (2).
    If the distance from the ultrasound transmitter (1) to the reflector (5) is long enough to produce the audio signal (3) in the air, then the ultrasound carrier signal (2) is no longer needed. Thus, the (intense) ultrasound carrier signal can be attenuated, so that the listener (4) of the ultrasound only greatly reduced or not reached. For this purpose, a means can be introduced into the cone of sound, which selectively fades out or attenuates the ultrasound carrier signal (2).
  • In the preferred embodiment, the reflector (5) is correspondingly designed so that it has selective reflection properties: the ultrasound (2) is significantly reduced in its power at the reflector (5) due to its high frequency by absorption, while the low-frequency audio ( 3), however, is reflected almost unimpaired. Such selective attenuation at the reflector (5) can be achieved for example by an ultrasound-absorbing coating of the reflector. For this purpose, for example, is fine-pored Material. In the simplest case, a thin cover fabric can be used for this. The ultrasound-absorbing layer may have a smaller area than the entire reflector surface, if the ultrasound is bundled correspondingly tight and thus only hits a part of the reflector surface, while the audio sound cone may be somewhat more extensive.
  • The device according to the invention is particularly suitable for use in vehicles. Figure 4 shows schematically the installation of the corresponding reflector system in a vehicle. In this embodiment, the ultrasonic transmitter (1) is installed in the instrument panel (6). This results in good design options regarding the necessary installation depth, which may also accommodate required cooling devices. The ultrasound carrier signal (2) radiated obliquely upwards in this example impinges on the reflector (5) which is mounted here in the upper region of the windshield (9), for example in the transition region between the windshield and headliner (8) of the vehicle or as an integrated one Part of the headliner (8). Due to the ultrasound-absorbing coating of the reflector (5), the ultrasound carrier signal is strongly attenuated so that practically only the audible audio sound (3) is reflected. The surface curvature of the reflector (5) additionally causes a focusing of the audio sound (3). The main direction of the reflection is set so that the reflected audio signals (3) reach the ear of the listener (4). An appropriate adjustment (eg for individual adjustment to the height of the listener or when adjusting the seat height) can be done via adjusting devices on the reflector (5) and / or by changing the emission direction of the ultrasonic transmitter (1) - here in the dashboard.
  • Basically, the reflector system according to the invention has the advantage that all components of the system, which have a greater weight and a corresponding volume, can be accommodated in areas of the cab, which offer more space. The reflector itself may be relatively thin and made of a lightweight material (e.g., aluminum, plastic, etc.). This is also an advantage from a safety point of view since all heavier components (ultrasound transmitters) are adequately shielded in the event of an accident by appropriate integration into stable and deeper areas of the vehicle (reducing the risk of injuries to the head).
  • In a further embodiment (not shown), the reflector system can be extended by a safety device such that in the event of an object or a person approaching the region of high ultrasound intensity (ultrasound cone between ultrasound transmitter and reflector) an automatic shutdown or Attenuation of the ultrasonic signal takes place. The detection of penetration into the ultrasonic cone can be done in the usual way by proximity detectors The prior art, for example by infrared or ultrasonic detectors.
  • The described device for directional audio radiation based on a modulated ultrasonic carrier signal is characterized by a small footprint, high concentration of audio sound and reducing the ultrasonic radiation to the listener. It is suitable for use in vehicles, whereby with appropriate design on the individual seats different audio signals can be offered without resulting in acoustic overlays.

Claims (13)

  1. Apparatus for directional sound generation to a listener (4) with acoustically perceptible audio sound (3), with an ultrasound transmitter (1) emitting an amplitude-modulated ultrasound carrier signal (2) as a high intensity beam, comprising a reflector (5) which reflects the audio sound (3) in the direction of the listener (4),
    and having a means which is introduced between the ultrasound transmitter (1) and the listener (4) and greatly reduces the intensity of the ultrasound carrier signal (2) before it reaches the listener (4),
    characterized
    in that the apparatus is introduced into a vehicle in order to generate sound for the occupants of the vehicle,
    with the reflector being physically separate from those components of the apparatus which are heavier.
  2. Apparatus according to Claim 1, characterized in that the reflector is fitted in the upper area of the windscreen (9), in particular in the junction area between the windscreen and the roof of the vehicle.
  3. Apparatus according to Claim 1, characterized in that the reflector is an integrated part of the roof.
  4. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that those components of the apparatus which are heavier are accommodated in areas of the cab which offer greater space.
  5. Apparatus according to Claim 4, characterized in that relatively low, stable areas of the vehicle are chosen as areas which offer space.
  6. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the means for reducing the intensity of the ultrasound carrier signal (2) is formed by the reflector (5).
  7. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the surface of the reflector (5) is curved in such a shape that the audio sound (3) is focused in the direction of the listener (4).
  8. Apparatus according to Claim 7, characterized in that the means reduces the intensity of the ultrasound carrier signal by absorption.
  9. Apparatus according to Claim 8, characterized in that the means is fitted as a layer to the reflective surface of the reflector (5).
  10. Apparatus according to Claim 9, characterized in that the layer is fitted to only a part of the reflective surface of the reflector (5).
  11. Apparatus according to Claim 8, 9 or 10, characterized in that the means is composed of a fine-pore material, for example cloth.
  12. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that control and pivoting apparatuses are provided, by means of which the ultrasound transmitter (1) and/or the reflector (5) can be mechanically moved so that the direction of the audio sound (3) changes.
  13. Apparatus according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that detectors are provided which detect that an object or a person has entered the area between the ultrasound transmitter (1) and the reflector (5) and cause the intensity to be reduced, and/or the ultrasound carrier signal (2) to be switched off.
EP20020017268 2001-08-18 2002-08-01 Method and system for directional sound generation Expired - Fee Related EP1284586B1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
DE10140646 2001-08-18
DE2001140646 DE10140646C2 (en) 2001-08-18 2001-08-18 Method and device for directional audio irradiation

Publications (3)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP1284586A2 EP1284586A2 (en) 2003-02-19
EP1284586A3 EP1284586A3 (en) 2004-08-04
EP1284586B1 true EP1284586B1 (en) 2006-03-15

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EP20020017268 Expired - Fee Related EP1284586B1 (en) 2001-08-18 2002-08-01 Method and system for directional sound generation

Country Status (4)

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US (1) US20030035552A1 (en)
EP (1) EP1284586B1 (en)
JP (1) JP2003163986A (en)
DE (2) DE10140646C2 (en)

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
EP1284586A3 (en) 2004-08-04
DE10140646C2 (en) 2003-11-20
JP2003163986A (en) 2003-06-06
EP1284586A2 (en) 2003-02-19
US20030035552A1 (en) 2003-02-20
DE10140646A1 (en) 2003-03-13
DE50206061D1 (en) 2006-05-11

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