Startups like Doppler Labs are building earbuds that will let you turn down the volume on crying babies and pump up the bass on live music.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.technologyreview.com
Doppler’s earbuds work by using algorithms to cancel out sounds you don’t want to hear as they enter your ear, while letting through the sounds you do want. It’s all controlled with a smartphone app, and the company plans to include settings for situations like live music and travel. When I tried it, it did work, though I didn’t get to test it out in a stressful situation like a plane trip with a crying baby. Nuheara, meanwhile, is trying to do something similar to Doppler but also plans to let users of its forthcoming wireless earbuds connect with digital audio—music, phone calls, and, on the iPhone, Siri. David Cannington, a cofounder of Nuheara and its head of sales and marketing, says an iPhone app will let users do things like adjust background noise to enhance music they’re listening to or boost their hearing in a noisy restaurant. Cannington says the company hopes to have a working prototype by the end of the year and to start selling the earbuds in late 2016 for “less than $300.” – Like all kinds of wearables hitting the market, though, those made by Doppler, Nuheara, and others are facing formidable challenges with technology and comfort. Since they tend to use Bluetooth for communication between the in-ear device and a smartphone app, they depend on that wireless technology to work well—and as anyone who’s used a Bluetooth headset knows, the sound quality can be choppy even over very short distances.