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F. Joseph Pompei ’95

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Pompei ’95 “Spotlighted” in Technology Review’s TR100

F. Joseph Pompei ’95 was named to the TR100, Technology Review’s third class of 100 innovators 35 or younger “whose technologies are poised to make a dramatic impact on our world.” The October 2003 issue of Technology Review profiled “the lab dwellers, visionaries, and dealmakers” who are working at the cutting edge of computing, biotechnology and medicine, the Internet, and nanotechnology.

Pompei was selected for his innovation of delivering “spotlights,” or narrow beams, of sound for use in concerts, museums, and automobiles. His device, the Audio Spotlight, uses ultrasound as an acoustic projector. The Spotlight directs sound in a narrow beam so that listeners within the beam’s path hear sound clearly, while those only a few feet away do not.

Pompei developed a prototype of his Audio Spotlight device while a graduate student at MIT, and founded the company Holosonic Research Labs in Watertown, Mass., in 1999.

The Spotlight is being used in museums, including the Boston Center for the Arts and the Matisse Museum, and at trade shows and exhibitions. DaimlerChrysler has installed it in truck models to provide personal audio zones for individual passengers. In October, Holosonics mounted an exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Science, showing a television system that offers three viewers completely different content simultaneously.

Pompei began his career in acoustics at 16 as the youngest engineer at Bose Corporation. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a minor in electronic arts at Rensselaer.

Rensselaer Magazine: Winter 2003
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