Saturday, June 6, 2015

Here - Augmented Hearing

We've talked a lot about virtual reality and augmented reality, and every time those things have been associated with sight. Now, there's a kickstarter project that wants to do the same sort of thing for audio: the Here Active Listening earbuds.

In an era when wearables are becoming common, Here Active Listening wants to be the first hearable. At first sight you might be fooled into thinking the Here earbuds are just another bluetooth earbuds that let you ear music or take calls, but its true secret is the digital processing it does inside, in real-time.

If you're easily annoyed by noise, you've probably looked into noise-canceling headphones before. Well, these Here can be considered to be the "next step" in noise cancellation... and more. Instead of simply filtering out recurrent hums, Here allows you to precisely tune what you don't want to hear... as well as improve the things you actually want to hear.

Can't stand a baby crying next to you on that long flight home? You can silence it with just a single tap on its app, where you can do the same with a lot of other noise sources (bus, train, etc.). How about silencing the crowd roar during a music show, while upping the bass and vocals of the band playing? You can do that too.

This alone would be enough to pike our interest, but you can easily imagine the sort of thing this culd easily evolve into. How about real-time translation, allowing you to understand anyone in the world by simply wearing an earbud? Or what if it can "shout" an alert if it detects the noise of an incoming vehicle in high-speed, or any number of other potentially dangerous situations?

For now, we'll have to wait till Dexember, and hope Here can deliver on its promises. And, if they could convince Hans Zimmer to say good things about it... let's assume they can! :)

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