Available Technologies

Browse Penn-owned technologies available for licensing.

Directional speakers for warning systems

Directing a beam of sound at any angle


Most audio warning systems have no way of targeting the individuals that need to receive a message. These warnings might be ignored or missed by the people that need to hear them. Directed sound systems can create a narrow “beam” of sound rather than a wave that spreads in all directions. These systems work by emitting directed, high-frequency ultrasonic signal that demodulates in air, producing sound focused in a narrow beam.

This technique has been known for some time, but it can only travel in a straight line perpendicular to the source. A controllable beam of sound could change the angle of the beam to track a target and direct a warning at a specific person


Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have created a phased array directed speaker that can change the beam angle. By using a series of ultrasound sources, each with a different time delay, the beam can be angled and moved. This system could be used to target a specific individual and direct a warning message to one person specifically. Additional applications could include variable audio directionality for audiovisual and entertainment systems.


  • Directed sound at a variable angle
  • Warnings can be directed at a specific target
  • Beam of sound can move as targets move


  • Pedestrian warning systems and other audio warning systems
  • Audiovisual personalized entertainment


Stage of Development:

Prototype System

Intellectual Property:

Provisional Pending

Desired Partnerships:

Patent Information:


Docket # 16-7832

For Information, Contact:

Qishui Chen Licensing Officer, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania