Samsung's headphone-replacing S-Ray speakers may actually become a reality

They beam sound that only you can hear.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister

You've probably never used a speaker like this.

Sean Hollister/CNET

What if headphones didn't have to touch your head? No earbuds falling out of your ears, no pressure on your skull. A beam of sound only you can hear, coming from tiny speakers mounted on a neckband, or perhaps an article of clothing.

That's what a few developers inside Samsung wanted to build -- and they've just gotten permission to spin out their laserlike S-Ray audio technology as a fully fledged startup with Samsung's funding and support. 

Watch this: Best moments from Samsung's CES 2018 press conference

We tried a prototype miniatured speaker at CES 2018, and thought it was pretty incredible, even if the core technology (ultrasonic modulation) isn't exactly new. 

Take a look for yourself in our little video above. We'll be watching for the new startup (dubbed Catch Flow) to bring the tech to market.

Other products now spinning out of Samsung's C-Lab incubator this time around: AppBee, "a research platform that connects clients and users based on mobile usage patterns," and Plantbox, "an indoor smart garden solution that enables users to easily grow vegetables and herbs at home." More info here.

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