You can't fault the folks at the Fraunhofer Institute
for resting on their laurels after creating that obscure bit of technology known as the MP3. Having already announced an eye-controlled interaction system
and a multimedia dome
in the past two months, our fine German friends have now developed a technology that purports to automagically turn any old stereo content into sweet 5.1 surround sound. According to the Institute, SX Pro (which can apparently be implemented at either the software or hardware stage) works by analyzing an audio signal to identify characteristic sound elements, instantly redistributing those elements using an intelligent algorithm to create a natural sounding 5.1 mix. Fraunhofer even sees the technology being used at the professional level, with additional controls available to tweak the upmix process used by SX Pro -- offering a faster and cheaper alternative to producing a true 5.1 mix. How well it works, of course, is yet to be seen (er, heard), but the Fraunhofer Institute seems to be pretty confident in its work, noting that that the tech will be ready for use by the end of the year.