Samsung S-Ray Could Make Headphones Obsolete

Today when you walk down the street, you see a lot of people wearing Apple's AirPods or Bose or Beats headphones. But in a few years, these devices could be replaced by mini speakers you wear.

Credit: Samsung

(Image credit: Samsung)

At CES 2018, Samsung will be showcasing a new technology called S-Ray, spearheaded by its C-Lab. Short for Sound-Ray, S-Ray is a portable speaker that's light and portable. It produces directional audio, so ideally only the listener will hear the sound.

According to Samsung's press release, "S-Ray helps people avoid having to put on earphones for a long time which can cause ear pain, and avoids the distractions to others Bluetooth speakers can cause."

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S-Ray will be shown off in multiple forms, including a neckband speaker, Handy (a portable speaker) and a smartphone cover. Samsung says that the directional audio is designed to be so personal that multiple S-Ray speakers can coexist in the same space without audio mixing or interference.

In a YouTube video, Samsung shows a woman with an S-Ray speaker in front of her on a Yoga mat, and a gamer wearing a neckband in close proximity. The mini S-Ray speaker is so small that it can be clipped to anything from the top of your laptop and a bike's handlebars to a purse.

The idea is to deliver an immersive and personal audio experience without having to put anything on your head. Lots of earphones these days have ambient sound modes that allow you to hear what's around you without having to take them out of ears, such as the Bose QuietControl 30, Bragi headphones and OnVocal. But what if you didn't need to put anything in your ears at all?

We hope to go hands-on with S-Ray at CES 2018 to experience the technology, and will let you know how the tech stacks up to today's headphones.