Here is essentially a set of wireless earbuds that give you the ability to selectively filter and amplify sounds from the world around you in real time — allowing you to fine-tune your hearing for certain environments. If properly adjusted, this little gizmo (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’s a set of microphones. These pick up audio from the surrounding world, which is then sent through a digital signal processor (DSP), 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 DSP behaves, and make the headphones produce sound waves that add, remove, or augment the original audio signal. It’s basically like having a volume knob and EQ settings for every single sound that enters your ears.
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