Sony: Surfing on Sound


Sony unveils Sonic Surf VR at SXSW 2018, a unique suite of spatial audio technology combined with new multi-channel speakers and specially developed software designed to simulate popping, moving, and partitioning sounds in one space using an intuitive software application. The result is an interactive space where sounds move freely around within a space to create immersive experiences.

“Spatial audio is key to enhancing immersive experiences,” said Brad Hanrahan, Group Manager, Business & Institutional Solutions, Sony Professional Solutions Australia & New Zealand. “Currently a lot of Virtual Reality (VR) technology is focused on visual experience. Sonic Surf VR is the industry’s first packaged solution offering a new type of VR from an audio perspective. It can produce powerful space of sound and further enhance VR experience by enabling multiple numbers of people to enjoy simultaneously without headphones.”

Sonic Surf VR is suitable for wide range of applications, such as location-based entertainment like theme parks, special events, exhibitions, museums, aquariums and corporate showrooms. As a stand-alone audio experience or combined with digital signage, projection mapping and lighting, creators and producers who are producing attractive and dynamic content with additional, innovative special design elements can further enhance the value of their work.

Sonic Surf VR has been demonstrated at the various events and exhibitions including a live event of the brand campaign called “Lost in Music” (2018) as well as ISE (2018) and received lots of great responses.

Sonic Surf VR is the industry’s first packaged solution which combines Sound Field Synthesis with speakers, a control unit and software based on an algorithm unique to Sony. It is also scalable depending on customer needs and location size. The authoring software license and player software licenses will be available in different durations to enable flexible operations.

At SXSW 2018, Sony will have two unique demonstrations of Sonic Surf VR.
In the first demonstration – “Ghostly Whisper”, participants are invited to a series of simulated paranormal events designed to stimulate the senses, surrounded by the immersive sounds. The demo also shows the Sonic Surf VR’s capability of virtual sound partitioning; sometimes certain sound can be only heard by selected person, even if all are in the same room. This demonstration is held in collaboration with Universal Creative, the division within Universal Parks & Resorts that designs and creates theme park attractions and experiences around the world.

Thomas Geraghty, Director of Technology & Innovation, Advanced Technology Interactive Group, Universal Creative, Universal Parks & Resorts said, “At Universal Parks & Resorts, our attractions place guests in the midst of an incredible adventure that relies on compelling storytelling and great characters. To help all of that come together often relies on cutting edge technology and we search worldwide for unique and innovative ideas. One of the places we’ve found that is with Sony.”

He continued, “Sony’s one-of-a-kind solution, Sonic Surf VR could be a key element to create attractive and dynamic attractions at our theme parks and resorts in the future. We expect the Universal Creative collaboration with Sonic Surf VR to offer customers exciting and unforgettable experiences.”

A second demonstration – Acoustic Vessel “Odyssey” – allows visitors to immerse themselves in music, enabled by a one-of-a-kind combination of music and Sonic Surf VR that creates a space where sounds are free to move around. Using 576 speakers controlled by its sound field synthesis technology, visitors will be taken on an unforgettable audio voyage through time and space. Enveloped in a dynamic wave of sound, guests will undertake an epic journey spanning cityscapes and lush forests, the depths of the ocean, and even the outer reaches of the solar system. The audio is accompanied by a pioneering light installation.

The Sonic Surf VR will be available from June 2018.

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