If you didn't take a stroll on Kickstarter recently and hear about the Soundlazer, maybe that's because this speaker wasn't pointing at you. The Soundlazer is set to be delivered to those that pledged at least $175 this August. Out right now for backers of $50 or $25 are circuit boards intended to lead DIY fans to build a Soundlazer on their own. What Richard Haberkern is presenting is a parametric speaker which is as much like a regular speaker as a shotgun mic is to a cardioid. The sound properties in question are actually a great parallel. The pick up pattern on a shotgun mic is narrower than its more widely seen counterpart. And though parametric speakers have been around for decades, this modern approach to them aims to be much more affordable and tangible.
The uses, well you'll want to stretch your creativity, and you might need to borrow an extra pair of ears to get the best test. If the videos are any indication though, it might be like the first time you heard yourself capturing sound on a shotgun mic… Seriously, their suggested uses are for public safety or other such announcements that only need to be heard by people in a certain area. Maybe someone forgot their lines on set or stage, the Soundlazer can be as good as a whisper in his or her ear. If you've ever played with diagetic and non-diagetic sound in your video, this will ramp up your options. What is still difficult to grasp is the precision of the reflected sound.
Despite not reflecting off of flat surfaces, the Soundlazer directs a clean line of sound with a relatively small device. To get a little more specific on the device, it accepts a standard 1/8-inch audio input and runs off of AC power. So for less than $200 you'll have the Soundlazer which can substitute for headphones and one-up your laser pointer at pranking, and still have much better uses.