Drown is a new approach to creating immersive audio in video games. Drown uses soundwave vibration to deliver a tactile transmission of audio to create a fully immersive and authentic audio experience, using a delivery method that eliminates sound loss and audio degradation. Ideally, what this does is make so it is easier to accurately pinpoint enemies in games based on creating a more precise location for the sound’s origin. Their crowdfunding page with videos breaking down some of the science in their tactile audio system can be accessed from this link.
Drown is still in production but they did share a prototype with Hardcore Gamer. Drown is worn like typical earbuds except the earpiece is quite a bit large than the standard circular earpieces and are instead 3D printed silicone molds based on scans from hundreds of ears. This is ensure that they not only fit snugly in the ear but also deliver that immersive sound. The way Drown fits inside the user’s ears causes spatial awareness through bone and cartilage conduction and the vibrations stimulate the nerves to help create spatial awareness of where the sound is originating, accounting for factors such as height, depth or distance. There are removal different sized earpieces for Drown in order to ensure that the user is getting the best experience possible by having the proper fit.
Despite some initial reservations about the shape of the earpiece, Drown fit comfortably within my ear and stayed securely in place. Trying a couple different sizes is recommended since having a proper fit is part of the tactile sound delivery method. The spatial audio effect was similar to what you’d experience with 3D sound or surround sound for headphones. Outside of spatial awareness being heightened the overall sound quality was adequate but thin, though since this is a prototype adding more low end and fullness to the sound could still happen in later production stages. Drown includes a detachable boom mic for multiplayer gaming, and the in ear design is good for travel since the direct sound delivery helps drown out background noise, along with being smaller and more compact than over ear gaming headsets.