Written on the 14 May 2012


A GOLD Coast inventor has caught the attention of the United States electronics market with an innovative new microphone tailored for group conversations.

Iain McCowan, managing director of Dev-Audio, has spent four years developing Microcone (pictured), a multi-directional microphone and recording device.

It uses patented technology to distinguish and modulate voices based on the distance of the speaker to the microphone. It also reduces background noise and reverberation.

McCowan says Microcone can be integrated to a speech-to-text web service for audio transcription. It also provides a meeting record, which can be searched by speaker and keywords according to a visual timeline of any conversation.

The device won the Best in Show award and sold out at its international launch at Macworld in San Francisco in January. McCowan is now talking with angel investors as he seeks to commercialise the product.

“It is not an easy environment to get capital, but the success at the trade show and the proven market demand we have for this product has shown it is worth putting money into,” says McCowan.

McCowan grew up on the Gold Coast and studied at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane where he gained a PhD in computer speech technology. He undertook further studies in Switzerland and France before returning to Australia and working for the CSIRO.

His company is based at the Gold Coast Innovation Centre (GCIC) at Griffith University’s Southport campus. McCowan says the support from the Gold Coast City Council, the city’s Export Assistance Scheme and the GCIC was ‘invaluable’ in product development.

“It helped us position the company to impact a global market,” he says.

“The (GCIC) has been a great support in that my background is in science, not business, so mentors there have provided some very valuable support.”

McCowan says the remainder of 2012 is about selling product, particularly in American markets.

“We have finished the product development stage and it is time to build recognition and ramp up our sales focus,” says McCowan.

GCCC Economic Development and Tourism Committee Chair, Councillor Susie Douglas, says Dev-Audio’s achievements will boost the emerging local ICT industry.

“More and more, the Gold Coast is being recognised as an emerging hub for technology development and innovation,” says Cr Douglas.






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