Bionic ear plugs here we come!
Business Insider’s Nathan McAlone reports that Doppler Labs' new wireless ‘Here’ earbuds, already at an advanced stage in development, have raised $17 million from another round of investing.
The writer paid them a visit to test out the current prototype which actually works in real time - manipulating the sounds as they arrive - to reduce or boost specific types of background noise such as a baby crying or a train passing.
For music listening it offers to reduce or boost five different frequency parameters. Effects are also available such as flange and echo, all controlled by a smartphone app.
When it came to affecting specific sounds, McAlone felt it to be imprecise, though in fairness the engineers are still working on this. But he was particularly impressed when it came to music: “[Turning] up the bass and knowing that sound was originating from a speaker and not the earbuds themselves was a surreal experience", said McAlone.
"It reminded me of the cognitive disconnect I get when using the Oculus Rift, that strange feeling of something being real and not real at the same time.”
Not long ago Doppler released DUBS, their original take on the more basic form of earplug, which itself proved to be pretty popular, not least for the very reasonable price tag. DUBS claimed to be different from other ear plugs – where others sought to dampen and distort, they used mechanical high and low pass filters.
Evidently boosted by that success, led by CEO Noah Kraft, Doppler Labs decided to go not just one step further with ‘Here’, but a couple of large steps in their stated quest to own the ‘hearables’ market.
The planned release date is currently December 2015 and the fact that it has some big music industry names such as Live Nation Entertainment and Universal Music Group investing suggests this is where the smart money is.