Google quietly acquired Dysonics, a startup focused on 3D audio tech

Google quietly acquired Dysonics, a startup focused on 3D audio tech

Much like its rival companies Amazon and Microsoft, Google is constantly buying up smaller companies to acquire new talent or intellectual property. One of Google’s latest acquires has been revealed to be Dysonics, a startup that focused on 3D audio technology.

The acquisition happened in December, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via Protocol). The company previously developed a wireless motion sensor for headphones, called Rondo Motion, which modified the sound output based on how your head was turned (giving you VR-like spatial awareness). Dysonics also partnered with Virgin America at one point to bring its 3D sound to in-flight entertainment systems.

The filing points out some of the technology Dysonics had submitted for patents, including “Motion tracked binaural sound conversion of legacy recordings,” which was filed with the U.S. in 2013 and became registered in 2016. Here’s the patent’s description:

Systems and methods are disclosed for a sound reproduction apparatus configured for receiving signals representative of the output of a plurality of microphones positioned to sample a sound field at points representing possible locations of a listener’s left and right ears when positioned in said sound field at the location of the microphones, receiving a location of at least one sound source relative to said plurality of microphones, receiving orientation data of the listener’s head, and calculating a binaural output using the sound source location, microphone output signals and orientation data. The binaural output includes the full-bandwidth of the microphone output signals.

Google never announced that it had acquired Dysonics, so it’s not clear what the company’s plans are. Google could release updated Pixel Buds with 3D audio — new Pixel Buds are reportedly in development, but the next model is expected to be a lower-cost version. Perhaps another variation of the Pixel Buds could include Dysonics’ technology, or Google could develop over-ear headphones with the system (potentially as a competitor for the AirPods Max)

Featured image: Google’s Pixel Buds

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has also worked at Android Police and PC Gamer. Check out his other work (including a tech podcast) at corbin.io.