Audio News for March 11, 2016

Sonos Announces Layoffs and Readjustments – A recent study revealed that 55% of Americans usually listen to their music thru the tiny laptop speakers of their computers. Many higher-end users are not taking the next step towards audio hardware – especially those favoring on-the-go style gear, who are easily dragged down by “stuff.” There’s been a surge in music streaming, with paid subscriptions crossing the 50 million mark. Though some listen on stereo headphones, others use mono speakers and stereo may be on the way out with those. However, there is still a niche attraction to higher-end audio products.

Tom Sachs Turns a Speaker Into Anything – New York-based artist Tom Sachs makes sculptural sound installations out of anything. Here’s an example we liked: SachsSculpture
He has a one-man show currently at the Brooklyn Museum and also does his take on the Japanese Tea Ceremony combined with speakers. He has instructions on his website on how to build your own waterproof, solar-powered boombox. All you’ll need is a waterproof case, an audio receiver, a solar panel, a rechargeable battery and charger, a AC/CD power supply, a pair of speakers, and slew of LEDs, wires, switches, nuts, bolts and adhesives.

Amazon Prime Video Could Have VR Upgrade Soon – Amazon is hiring a software development manager specialising in VR – a sign they plan to compete with Netflix and Hulu – both now working on VR. But don’t expect another VR headset just yet.

Touch-Free Typing Project at Google – Speaking of the future, developers are working on new types of touchless interactions with connected devices. They seek to solve the interaction challenges caused by electronic wearables, because people are used to large touch screen devices for control. Project Soli makes the human hand in the air an interface, and its sensor is said to be able to track sub-millimeter motions at high speed and accuracy. One engineer has developed Soli-Type, which allows him to simply move his fingers above a smartphone or computer to enter text into an app. This is just one of many potential applications for a miniature sensing radar hardware project.

George Martin Dies – The producer/arranger/director, who died in London at age 90,  was often referred to as “The Fifth Beatle,” for his assistance in helping the Beatles redraw the boundaries of popular music. His career of seven decades caused him to be recognized as one of music’s most creative talents. Paul McCartney said “From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.”  I interviewed George Martin on the Audio Audition radio series.

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