Voice Coil continues its look at microphones with this exciting feature on optic sound pickup technology. VocalZoom, founded in 2010, has developed a unique laser sensor which, when used as a microphone, can differentiate a speaker’s voice from extraneous background noise. The VocalZoom sensor can be simultaneously used as a biometric sensor and a 3-D imaging sensor.

The technology creates a virtual cube, sensing sound from within the cube. The first generation laser microphone is a 3 mm × 3 mm module aimed for short distances, up to 10 cm, which will be available during the first quarter of 2016. The second generation, which will target 1 m distances and be focused on automotive applications, is expected to be released in 2017.

The technology is ingenious and combines a conventional audio microphone capsule in conjunction with the VocalZoom laser microphone. The laser microphone “looks” at the vibrations from the user’s facial skin (e.g., mouth, lips, cheeks, or throat) as a reference to determine which of the sounds the conventional microphone picks up actually emanates from the user.

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