‘Be curious, explore and create!’ – UP bioengineering star on women paving the way in science

Meet Natalie Hanekom, an engineering student at the University of Pretoria (UP) who developed an acoustic microphone array beamformer to improve auditory communication experiences.

The device consists of a set of microphones working together to create a virtual pattern that allows sounds from certain directions to be heard while muting or turning down the volume on sounds coming from other directions.

Using multiple microphones that are in different positions gives the device spatial “hearing” capabilities i.e. the ability to know where sounds are coming from.

“This spatial hearing enables microphone arrays to perform various tasks, such as cancelling background noise – like from a diesel generator – as well as the speech of interfering voices and all the reflected sounds in rooms,” Natalie explains. “It also separates the speech of many people or the sounds of musical instruments in an orchestra, makes 3D sound recordings for spatial music, and localises and tracks speakers in a room.”

Attached is a news release with the full text and some pictures for your use. You can also watch a demonstration of the device being used here. Please contact me for more information, requests to publish or to arrange interviews.