Taiwan Startup Ambidio Revolutionizing Audio Technology

Taiwan Startup Ambidio Revolutionizing Audio Technology
Photo Credit:Ambidio Facebook page

What you need to know

Ambidio, a new cognitive audio technology startup founded by four Taiwanese, has developed a technology that can enhance the audio performance of just two speakers into that of a complete surround sound system. The company has garnered funding and support from multiple prominent international investors and the music and sound industry, including will.i.am, Horizons Ventures, and Skywalker Sound.

Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee

Ambidio, a Los Angeles-based startup founded by four Taiwanese entrepreneurs, might revolutionize the way we enjoy music and sounds. The company has developed an audio technology that can delude listeners into thinking they are listening to sounds from various directions and angles.

The startup claims that its proprietary encoding technology is able to enhance the audio performance of just two speakers into that of an entire surround sound system. The technique also enables stereo audio to sound three times “wider” than existing virtual loudspeakers, creating an “immersive sound experience.”

The technology can be applied to any electronic device with speakers; from mobile phones, tablets, and laptops to even top-notch high-fidelity systems. The company says Ambidio can provide the best listening experience on a laptop with speakers instead of using headphones.

Moreover, Ambidio is applicable to a variety of stereo sources. It not only can be embedded directly into audio files and movies, but can also be used as a plug-in to process sound in real time.

Iris Wu, a 29-year old Taiwanese who is currently studying music technology at New York University, is the primary architect of Ambidio. Wu says the inspiration for creating Ambidio came from her own experience of watching movies on a laptop.

Wu says she was increasingly frustrated by the poor sound performance of laptop audio and the watershed moment that made up her mind to make a change occurred when she was watching Transformers.

“There were buildings falling down, robots running around, but compared to all this visual impact, the sound from my laptop was so tinny. I began to think about how I could get better sound from such a little device,” says Wu.

Wu later teamed up with three other Taiwanese who majored in electrical engineering and established Ambidio in 2014.

Wu explains that the basic theory of Ambidio’s technology is to understand how human brains pick up sound sources, which is highly related to neuroscience.

In an interview with WIRED, Wu says, ”We try to understand the whole process, how the brain interprets sound events. For example, we actually keep monitoring the environmental sound all the time, and have the ability to choose what we want to focus on, and what we don’t. Knowing these really helps us fine tune Ambidio, not only make the effect more compelling, but also make it work for everyone."

Wu also talks about the main advantage and future prospect of Ambidio. She says, “The beauty of Ambidio is that it can provide a theatrical experience to any device, from virtual reality headsets to soundbars. There’s nothing like that in the market right now."

Ambidio has attracted multiple prominent investors

The idea and product of the new cognitive audio technology company have interested multiple big-name investors and prominent music and sound effects producers.

Will.i.am, a seven-time Grammy winner and American music producer, is fascinated by Ambidio’s technology and has decided to support the young startup.

Will.i.am says, “I love innovative technology and the moment I heard Ambidio, the ideas of what it could enable, the experience it would give to music lovers across the world, I had to get involved.”

Horizons Ventures, the venture capital arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, has also offered seed funding to Ambidio.

In addition, Skywalker Sound, the sound and design company of “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas, is impressed by Ambidio’s technology and has agreed to partner with the startup to provide technical help and advice.

Edited by Olivia Yang

“This tech tricks your brain into hearing surround sound” (WIRED)
“Will.i.am Joins George Lucas’ Skywalker Sound Backing New Audio Technology Ambidio” (Billboard)
“Surround Sound Coming to a Laptop Near You” (BloombergBusiness)
“How Does Ambidio Audio Technology Work? Check This Out!” (BloombergBusiness)
“New Home Audio Technology Launches With Help From the People Behind Light Sabers” (BloombergBusiness)