The First Hearable Control Device

Imagine what it would be like if, with the help of technology, you could make your already good hearing better. What if you could filter out certain noises and amplify other ones to customise what you can hear? Well, if New York-based startup Doppler Labs has its way, you might soon be able to.

The First Hearable Control Device

The First Hearable Control Device

Doppler has recently taken to Kickstarter.com to fund the launch of a device called Here. It is essentially a set of earbuds that gives you the ability to selectively filter and amplify sounds from the world around you in real time, thereby allowing you to fine-tune your hearing for certain environments. If properly adjusted, this little device (which its creators refer to as the world’s first “hearable tech” device) could help you do things like hear your dining partner better in a crowded restaurant, understand your friends at loud concerts without them screaming in your ear, or even eavesdrop on people from the other side of a room.

The way it works is pretty straightforward. On the outward-facing part of the earbuds, there is a set of microphones. These pick up audio from the surrounding environment, which is then sent through a digital signal processor, and subsequently played into your ears with no perceivable latency (i.e. under 30 microseconds). With the help of an accompanying smartphone app, you can adjust how the Digital Signal Processor, DSP, behaves and make the headphones produce sound waves that add, remove, or augment the original audio signal. It is basically like having a volume knob and equaliser settings for every single sound that enters your ears.

The range of potential uses for this tech is enormous. Want to tune out the annoying pop music playing in the grocery store, but still hear the cashier when you get up to the register? Wish there was a mute button on that crying baby on your red-eye flight? Feel like your car stereo does not have enough bass? With the right signal processing algorithms, Here could totally make it happen. Here has been engineered to give you control of any and all live listening experiences: Suppress the jet engine on an airplane. Reduce a baby crying. Boost the bass at a club. Live mix a concert by adding reverb. Enhance your senses and personalise every listening experience.

Here does not stream or play recorded music. Instead, the DSP inside Here acts as a studio in your ears by providing you with a volume knob, equaliser and effects to transform real world audio. Use this “remote control for your ears” to have an optimal listening experience every time.

Here allows you to instantly control real world audio so you can hear what you want to hear no matter the situation and be fully immersed in your audio environment. It is a wireless system, automatic Bluetooth pairing with battery six-hour life and Compatible with any iOS or Android device that supports Bluetooth Low Energy (Android 4.3 and up).

The earbuds are not quite available for purchase just yet, but Doppler has opened upper-orders on Kickstarter.com, so if you pledge your support now during the early stages, you can lock down a set of Here buds for about $179. If the company can successfully raise the $250,000 it is shooting for in the campaign, it expects to begin shipping to backers sometime around December 2015.

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