Have you ever encountered something that seems a little odd, then find that you are in fact surrounded by examples if it in your daily life. So it is with “Beam Forming.” You may never have heard of it, but it’s all around you, and it’s more than a little interesting.
Wikipedia tells use that, “Beam forming is a signal processing technique used in sensor arrays for directional signal transmission or reception.” It is essentially a way of using an array of omnidirectional sensors to synthesize directionality.
Cast into the audio domain beam forming is a way to use the signals from multiple omnidirectional microphones to create the equivalent of a direction microphone. Further, since the process is based upon signal processing, it can be variable. It can create the equivalent of an electronically steerable microphone, complete with the ability to “zoom” in or out. It’s not unlike a zoom lens for sound.
Sounds cool, right?