UWB in the Multisensory Metaverse, Part I: Hearing and Sound

  • February 3, 2022



In our earlier blog post, we provided some high-level perspective on the metaverse concept and UWB’s crucial role within it. In particular, we highlighted UWB’s unrivaled ability to wirelessly transmit torrents of data from our networked infrastructure to our personal area networks (PANs) where it can be distributed via wearable devices to facilitate fully immersive metaverse experiences.

For short-range wireless connectivity, SPARK UWB provides orders of magnitude improvements in data throughput and latency compared to legacy Bluetooth, while doing so at low power, and these attributes will be essential to achieving lifelike simulated experiences in the metaverse.

And while improved data throughput and low latency are valuable for almost any application, the implications for the metaverse run much deeper. The metaverse will be a multisensory experience unlike any other, promising new levels of immersion in virtual environments simulated for the purposes of entertainment, gaming, social interaction and commerce.

But none of this will be possible if the sensory stimuli offered us in the metaverse can’t effectively mimic the stimuli we experience in the real world.

In the coming weeks, stay tuned for an ongoing blog series wherein we address the critical role that UWB will play in stimulating and augmenting our senses in the metaverse. In today’s installation we’ll address the topic of hearing and sound.

Why is Audio Quality Going To Be Essential in the Metaverse?

We’ve previously detailed the many benefits that SPARK UWB wireless delivers over legacy Bluetooth in terms of audio quality – for gamers and music enthusiasts alike – as well as spatial audio enablement for a wide realm of audio apps. The extreme data throughput made possible with UWB means we’ll no longer have to compress/compromise sound quality going forward like we do today with lossy, compressed Bluetooth audio delivery. With UWB, not only can we stream high-quality audio, but we can also stream inertial measurement unit (IMU) data at low latency to facilitate advanced spatial audio algorithms.

Which is great news for audio apps today! Going forward in our journey to the metaverse, the need for pristine, precisely positioned audio stimuli will only continue to grow.

The metaverse of the future will be optimized for social interaction – a virtual universe unto itself where we’ll gather with friends, attend events, shop together in virtual stores, etc. Most everything we do today, but simulated.

So our sense of hearing will be every bit as crucial in the metaverse as it is in the real world. And while most experts agree that among the sighted it’s vision that dominates our conscious experience, it’s also understood that hearing is hardly a secondary function.

From an evolutionary perspective, for those unimpaired we rely on our hearing to monitor our environments for threats and opportunities. It’s perhaps telling that while we’re physically able to close our eyes and not see anything if we choose, our physiological design precludes our bodies from physically ‘turning off’ our hearing. There are no mammals on earth that can do this. That’s how vital hearing is to our basic functions and survival.

But it’s not about survival in the metaverse, it’s all about social! We need to be able to hear with the utmost clarity every voice and every available audio cue in order to establish spatial orientation and situational awareness. More importantly, we want the ability to hear our friends, loved ones, colleagues, gaming competitors, etc – everyone in our metaverse orbit – as if they were physically beside us, with no latency lags or sound quality degradations to distort our sense of presence.

What Are SPARK UWB’s Advantages vs Bluetooth in the Metaverse?

UWB eliminates the data/signal throughput bottlenecks, audio degradation and significant latency imposed by legacy Bluetooth. And SPARK Microsystems’ advanced UWB implementation can achieve all this while simultaneously delivering superior power efficiency to make sure our wearables and peripherals last as long as possible on a single charge.  This is a critical attribute today that will grow even more critical in time as the power budgets of our metaverse wearables are optimized for maximum uptime.

Be sure to join us for the next installation in our ‘Multisensory Metaverse’ series, where we’ll take a closer look at UWB’s advantages for harnessing and augmenting our sight-based awareness in the metaverse of tomorrow.