Audio quality peculiarities on mobile YouTube app

I noticed a weird thing today, watching Harvard i-lab | Startup Secrets Part 1: Value Proposition – Michael Skok, and that weird thing was that the audio for this video sounded really bad when played through my iPhone 6S speaker but sounds totally fine when I plug my headphones in. There is definitely audible compression-related distortion even through the headphones but it’s not at all a problem for listening comprehension. In contrast, the audio is extremely difficult to understand when played through the iPhone speaker. I wonder if this is app shenanigans or if it is an interesting hardware (i.e. speaker + drive electronics) interaction with the raw audio signal from the YouTube stream. I am kind of hoping for a weird corner case where the speaker’s frequency response is emphasizing the distortion in the audio signal.

To be continued… hopefully…


The Structure sensor by Occipital

A company called Occipital makes a 3D sensor called “Structure.” The sensor is designed for mechanical attachment and IO connection to an iPad, but they sell a USB “hacker cable” that allows for connection to a computer or other device. The sensor bundle with hacker cable is selling for $499.

structuresensorThe structure sensor

The technology looks pretty neat. They use lasers and imagers to 3D scan objects and environments, and they provide an SDK as well to grab and process the data.