Software company Hauoli has developed a way to track virtual objects with sound instead of light

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When it comes to tracking physical objects in virtual spaces, pretty much every company is relying on light in some form. Oculus and HTC have their light mapping sensors, while Sony’s PlayStation VR relies on infrared for its motion tracking camera. Hauoli, a young Austin-based startup demoing at SXSW, has something different in mind. It’s developed a way to track virtual objects with sound. The solution is entirely software based and works with just about any speaker, so it also removes the need for expensive motion tracking hardware.


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But while making VR seamless is its ultimate goal, Hauoli’s technology can also be used anywhere that needs motion tracking. In the video demonstration below, you can see how a standard Galaxy S7 can act as an audio ruler. It can also be used to draw. And yes, like every good motion tracking innovation, you can play Fruit Ninja with it. The company also showed off how the technology can be used to make drones follow you.

And if you were wondering, yes, Hauoli’s acoustic motion tracking also works in noisy environments. The company also promises that it is energy efficient (it doesn’t really take much to spit out sound), and it can deliver up to millimeter-level accuracy.
It’s all all very much in the early stages, but Hauoli says it currently has a patent pending for its audio technology. Lili Qiu, the company’s CTO, spun off the technology from her work at the University of Texas. While it’ll likely be a few years before we see Hauoli’s technology in any consumer products, it’s a promising glimpse of how things can evolve in the world of VR and motion tracking in general.


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