INDUSTRY & PRODUCT NEWS

Libratone Unveils Q Adapt On-Ear Wireless Headphones Featuring CityMix Adjustable Noise Cancellation
Libratone introduced the newest addition to its family of lifestyle products: The Q Adapt On-Ear wireless headphones. Featuring the new CityMix technology with four adjustable noise cancellation levels, the Q Adapt gives users complete control over how much external noise they choose to let in. Delivered in a lightweight, ergonomic design, the lightweight Q Adapt On-Ear Bluetooth headphones feature four built-in microphones, and 20-plus hours of wireless power.   Read More


ROLI Launches Blocks, Affordable LEGO-Like Music Creation System
ROLI, the London-based music technology startup that created the Seaboard Rise and Seaboard Grand expressive keyboards, announced a new and affordable music creation system that combines LEGO-like blocks named, aptly... ROLI Blocks. The new scalable music system will be available at Apple Stores around the world, with the first three modules, Lightpad Block, Live Block, and Loop Block, powered by Noise, a free music app for iPhone and iPad.   Read More


XMOS and Sensory Partner to Deliver Keyword Detection Applications
XMOS and Sensory have announced a partnership to deliver Sensory's TrulyHandsfree voice control technology on the XMOS xCORE-VOICE far-field voice capture processing platform. TrulyHandsfree is the latest generation of voice keyword detection software from Sensory, a recognized provider of speech recognition solutions. The partnership combines embedded speech capture with proven voice control technologies, with high accuracy and robust performance in noisy environmentsRead More


Master & Dynamic Announces MW50 Wireless On-Ear Headphones with Custom Beryllium Drivers
Lifestyle headphone brand, Master & Dynamic, announced its latest wireless headphones, featuring custom beryllium drivers. According to the New York City-based company, the new MW50 Wireless On-Ear Headphones were designed as a portable alternative made to last, combining the finest materials and rich, warm sound, with comfortable ear cups that fold flat. The "form-meets-function" exposed all-aluminum antenna provides best-in-class Bluetooth signal range, while the new design is one-third lighter than the company's previous MW60 model.    Read More
 

Linkplay Offers Speaker Brands Integration with the Amazon Alexa Voice Service
Linkplay Technology, a Wi-Fi audio solution provider from Palo Alto, CA, announced the broad availability of a Wi-Fi audio solution that integrates with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). The integration makes it easier and faster for speaker manufacturers to bring devices with Alexa to their customers. Jam Audio already used the Wi-Fi audio solution for its speaker with Alexa, Jam Voice, with push-to talk-technology. The speaker became available October 30, 2016.   Read More


Waves Consumer Ships Waves Nx 3D Audio on Any Headphone Set
Waves Consumer, the consumer division of Waves Audio, announced that it has started selling and shipping its first direct-to-consumer product. Waves Nx, is a completely new, user-centric listening experience that enables 3-D audio on any headphone set with any content. The company also unveiled a website, www.waves.com/nx, where the general public is invited to learn more about 3-D audio and purchase Waves Nx for $79.  Read More


Apple Unleashes Round of Thunderbolt 3 Announcements
Apple's announcement on October 27, 2016, of a new generation of MacBook Pro laptops will be remembered obviously for the company's "courage" to disrupt the traditional function keys on the keyboard, and the introduction of a fully programmable touch-screen called the Touch Bar. But more importantly it was the first confirmation that Thunderbolt 3 - the USB-C That Does it All, as Intel calls it - will be the future. And that's what the industry was waiting for.   Read More


Skybuds Truly Wireless Earbuds with NFMI Are Now Available
Alpha Audiotronics announced the general availability of its Skybuds truly wireless earbuds, offering an entirely new experience for travel, commuting, exercise, and everything in between. Combining seamless Near-field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) connectivity and premium audio quality, Skybuds are designed to fit any lifestyle and feature four hours of listening and 24 hours of additional battery life via the sleek and portable Skydock charging case.  Read More





João
Martins
Editor-in-Chief



Editor's Desk


Secure IoT and Smart Products
(Yes, Speakers Also!)

As we mentioned in our previous newsletter, on Friday, October 21, 2016, the world experienced its first massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, relayed through compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
 
Recently, we have seen unprecedented market enthusiasm among audio manufacturers and speaker companies in particular, rushing to use the available development kits and introduce Alexa voice-assistants in portable speakers - and soon in other categories as well. Obviously, most audio companies do not have the internal resources to create implementations of such sophisticated features unless they rely on available developments tools and external implementation partners - and they know those voice features depend on third-party services anyway. So, clearly, they do not fully control the technology. And I believe that with IoT, wearables, and smart devices, security concerns need to be in place in the early stages of the design.
 
Are audio devices that are connected directly to the Internet poorly protected?

The audio industry is just a small fraction of all the IoT discussion, but we are increasingly finding ourselves in the center of that convergence, benefiting from much of the technology being developed at a fast pace, while, on the other hand, inspiring some of the most successful commercial applications available. Let there be no doubt that audio is increasingly at the center of the IoT.
 
Any audio device able to be connected directly to the Internet and performing functions such as playing streaming audio and adjusting automatically sophisticated DSP algorithms resulting from the analysis of the surrounding acoustics and environmental noise is, in essence, a sophisticated IoT concept - much more sophisticated than most of the industrial applications being discussed, usually limited to simple sensors or providing basic levels of automation. But, as poorly protected connected devices are a gateway for hackers to access our homes, personal information, and corporate data, using enhanced microphones, IP video cameras, and sometimes even biometric sensors poses an even greater risk in the way the user is exposed to "the service."
 
Eight-eight percent of consumers have thought about the fact that Internet of Things devices (and the data they collect) could be accessed by hackers.
The difference with audio applications resides in the fact that human-interaction is actually key, from basic data input interfaces to sophisticated voice or gesture recognition. And that's precisely why there's currently so much excitement about wearables, "hearables," and smart speakers, all based on the combination of sophisticated sensors, embedded processing, and networking. Many of the successful M2M and IoT efforts remain unknown to the general public, while things such as smart watches, home-automation sensors, Amazon Echo, and Google Home efforts are front and center on consumer's imagination, generating excitement and (sometimes) even revenue for the companies involved.
 
Devices that are able to recognize generic sounds and connected sound systems have huge potential for applications in entertainment, security, monitors and all sorts of automation, independently of being labeled IoT, smart-home products, or consumer electronics. As the recent ESET/National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) study on the Internet of Things (IoT) reveals, 56% of consumers already own up to three connected devices - not counting computers and smartphones, and 43% of respondents reported either not having changed their default router passwords or not being sure whether they had done so.
 
If manufacturers are the first to put users' privacy at risk in the name of "improving the service," it becomes clear that, no matter how proactive a user can be about security and privacy, if their usage data is accessible externally, we can be certain it will be eventually hacked. Personally, I don't believe these things can depend upon "user education" at all. They have to be sorted in the product development stages and are the manufacturers' responsibility. Their business success will, in fact, depend upon it.
 
Security in IoT needs to start in development. It's your responsibility!
According to the same ESET/NCSA's study, 50% of consumers have been discouraged from purchasingan IoT device due to concerns about cybersecurity. A majority of consumers (85%) know that some computer webcams can be accessed by hackers to spy on them without their knowledge, and 29% are or have been afraid that someone might have accessed their webcams or video calls without their consent.
 
And I close, once again, with the wise words of Anthony Grieco, senior director and trust strategy officer at Cisco about corporate responsibility: "Every day, organizations face new opportunities and risks that technologies such as IoT create. While some leaders see the potential for improved business operations and financial gain, and see security as an enabler of those technologies, others consider security an obstacle."

From the Vault
100W Triode Amplifier
By Joseph Norwood Still
 
When this great tube amplifier project was published originally in Glass Audio magazine, Ed Dell wrote, "Joseph Norwood Still is pushing the envelope. His most recent triode design, which features the Svetlana 6550s and Hammond transformers, establishes new output limits-up to 100 W." Indeed, this would become a very popular project at the time, and still is, considering the frequent references and the number of projects it inspired (see A Single-Ended 6550 Amplifier, by Rick Spencer). As the author writes in the introduction: "This amplifier, a mono amp providing 100 W of output, is very stable and has low distortion throughout the audio spectrum to its full output. You can build it with a reasonable amount of work for about $500." This article was originally published in Glass Audio, 03 2000.   Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice  Coil Archives
Voice Coil Interviews Dr. Richard H. Small 
By Steve Mowry
 
This interview with Dr. Richard H. Small, by Steve Mowry was originally published in Voice Coil in 2006. Unfortunately, there are not many other interviews with Richard Small, apart from the Audio Engineering Society Oral History DVD, when he was interviewed by Irv Joel and the source for the pictures we used in this article. When researching information about his career and work on electro-acoustics, this interview is frequently referred to, including on Wikipedia, and copies of the interview in PDF abound on different websites. audioXpress decided it was time to make it available online in its entirety. As Steve Mowry writes, "I hope that as you read through Richard H. Small's answers and comments, the characteristics of wisdom and kindness blended with brilliance and diligence come to mind. Dr. Small's accomplishments speak for themselves; however, when Dr. Small speaks, he articulates such that it is clear; he is in a class with but a few of the finest men this industry has ever seen, a true gentleman." "Finally, but perhaps most important, is that Richard Small exemplifies that engineering is a life-long learning experience."   Read the Full Article Online


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AX November 2016: Digital Login
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