Adding to the impact of immersive experiences

Following an impressive track record in film visuals (including 3D film and TV), ZONEMEAUDIO’s founders branched into holographic technology. They soon found that while holograms could be used to create a powerful visual impact, traditional sound was destroying the ‘true to life’ illusion. Audiences are generally surrounded by speakers that envelop them in sound, rather than hearing the sound emanating from the appropriate source location. This is even more noticeable in virtual environments and immersive experiences.

Creating object-based sound

Unable to find an available solution for their holographic presentations, the ZONEMEAUDIO team eventually sought out Rob Oldfield, author of a PhD thesis on wave field synthesis based on work he undertook in the 1960s. The thesis posited that instead of ‘having’ a sweet spot, the listener can become the sweet spot, so they can move around and get a realistic sound. 

By applying wave field synthesis, ZONEME’s TRUE2LIFE™ technology can exactly place a sound at its apparent source – ideal for its holograms. 

Digital Catapult was a catalyst for a significant change of approach

Still working with holograms, ZONEMEAUDIO held a showcase at Knebworth and it became apparent that the incredibly realistic sound was creating more of an impression than the visuals. It was the Digital Catapult team that recognised the potential offered by this new sound technology and encouraged ZONEMEAUDIO to explore new and wider applications. 

Once working with Digital Catapult, ZONEMEAUDIO started to attract a lot of attention, especially as the true to life sound would be ideal for immersive experiences. For example, words can appear to come from an actor’s mouth, or a gunshot can be made to sound as if it takes place outside the room. Or the participant can walk through a virtual orchestra and experience the way the sound changes as they move around the musicians.

Facilitating and hosting a crucial  investor workshop

Digital Catapult hosted a workshop for ZONEMEAUDIO that made it possible for the team to introduce its technology to groups from the United Arab Emirates who were particularly interested in its use with artificial intelligence. As well as making the workshop possible the Digital Catapult team also applied its technical expertise to help resolve some ‘leakage’ from the system and development of a miniaturised version that would be more portable.

Digital Catapult Surroundscapes 2019

ZONEMEAUDIO took part in Surroundscapes, an immersive showcase highlighting those creating the latest solutions to amplify virtual reality, augmented reality and adding to the impact of immersive experiences, in the face of some impressive competition. This heightened profile and increased exposure have led to multiple introductions and connections to new companies and sectors, including medical companies, the music industry, forensics specialists, K-Pop, and the British Film Institute.

The company is now moving to Leeds and building a development centre with support from the Leeds City Council.

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