Augmented Reality For Your Ears

There has been a lot of focus on developing virtual and augmented reality technology over the past few years, though very much focused on visual enhancement. Now it seems we can look forward to some similar treatment for audio…

Customise Your Environment

Here Earbuds

The quality of one’s sonic environment is often overlooked, yet it can be a huge influence on our lives; everything from office productivity to general mental health can be impacted by the sounds around us. As covered in a previous post, analysts such as Julian Treasure are trying to make people more aware of the importance of our sonic surroundings.

Now, a Kickstarter project from Doppler Laps aims to bring a degree of customisation to what we hear in the world around us. The idea is that the user can wear earbuds that are controlled via a smartphone app called ‘Here’, which creates an active listening system – or as the CEO Noah Kraft puts it, ‘the first step towards bionic hearing’.

You Are What You Hear

The concept of noise-cancelling headphones has been around for a while – basically, a microphone situated on the outside of the headphones records incoming sounds, then a processor inverts the phase of the waveform to cancel out the ambient noise, allowing the wearer to (in theory) listen to their music without external intrusion.

The ‘Here’ concept takes this a step further, allowing the user to actually customise what they hear – for example, you can turn down the bass and enhance the midrange if you’re having difficulty hearing the vocals at a concert. You could also EQ out a particular sonic intrusion (eg a baby crying on the plane) and continue to talk to your companion.

The idea may be interesting, but it remains to be seen if it could make it into the mainstream – it’s unlikely it will become a part of everyday use any time soon, but for specific events (or commuting) it could potentially find an appreciative audience…


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