SOUNDCAM is the First ‘Affordable’ Handheld Camera for Seeing Sound

SOUNDCAM is a new camera that lets you take pictures of sound. It’s the first handheld camera that brings sound imaging to a size and cost that’s more accessible than industrial solutions that cost upwards of $100,000.

“The system is intuitive and as easy to use as a smartphone,” the company says. “What makes it so special is its high speed and accuracy.”

The camera works by combining 64 separate microphones, a traditional optical camera, and an integrated data analysis system. Using data from the mics, the system figures out exactly where in the frame the sounds are originating from and then overlays the high-resolution results in real time on the live view from the optical camera.

“Sound propagates as a wave at a certain speed, which means that sound needs a certain amount of time to propagate from a noise source to each microphone of the array,” the company writes. “Depending on each microphone’s position, the sound wave will need varying travel times. The algorithm running on SOUNDCAM analyzes these time delays and calculates accurate acoustic pictures and videos in real time.”

There are “endless” use cases for this technology, the company says — it can help you track down and analyze all kinds of noise from all kinds of courses in all kinds of environments. Examples include locating a drone you can hear but not see, finding the source of a sound in a running car, or figuring out where a leak is occurring.

On the back of the 7-pound (3kg), waterproof camera is a 7-inch display with a resolution of 800×480. The optical camera has a resolution of 640×480 and can record at 16fps. You can export resulting videos, sounds, and photos in .mp4, .wav, and .jpg formats, respectively.

Just as thermal cameras are becoming more and more accessible to the masses, SOUNDCAM is aiming to do the same with acoustic cameras.

“Existing acoustic cameras are only affordable for major companies,” the company says. “These systems are very complex and an acoustical engineer is necessary for operation. Yet there are so many applications in our daily life. That’s why we’ve decided to integrate that same technology in an intuitive, handheld, low-cost device, making it available for a broader market.”

Here’s a 4-minute video introducing the SOUNDCAM:

SOUNDCAM is being launched through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, where contributors can pre-order one for about $5,260 (€4,319) or 46% off the future suggested retail price of $9,680 (€7,999).