Doppler Labs' ambitions of sound-based augmented reality


23 Jan 2017

Meet Doppler Labs' augmented reality earbuds

Noah Kraft, the CEO of Doppler Labs, announced that the company would start shipping their Here One wireless earbuds, which he described as "computers for the ear".

The aim, Doppler says, is to change the way we interact with the world around by putting virtual assistants, capable of recognizing and responding to voice commands, in our ears.

Here One

Some features of the Here One

As Doppler's site describes it, Here One is the world's first "all-in-one" wireless listening system.

Based on Doppler's Here Active Listening System, the earbuds come with a connected app.

Users can, through the app, take phone calls, listen to music, reduce unwanted noise, amplify speech and access virtual assistants like Google Now and Siri to communicate with smartphones.

But that's not all.

Here One earbuds priced at $299

Doppler Labs' first generation of Here One earbuds are expected to start shipping next month. Priced at $299, the first generation earbuds will offer features like directional hearing, muffling and augmenting sounds.

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Doppler's more ambitious plans for the Here One earbuds

Doppler Labs isn't just happy with the whole smart earbuds thing that Here One will initially offer.

It wants to offer customers a product which is better than the ears we are born with.

As a result, Doppler Labs' more ambitious Here One prototypes come with a translation system capable of translating speech within half a second's delay.


The complexities of creating an ear-oriented "computer"

The complexities of creating an ear-oriented "computer"

To muffle, augment and interpret sounds around a user, Doppler's app has to first identify a noise, understand its characteristics, and alter the same without distortion, all within milliseconds.

To enable the same, Doppler's team is developing hundreds of machine learning algorithms to deal with the millions of sounds found in the world.

But it isn't as simple as it sounds.

Sampling sounds

Understanding the world through sound

For Doppler's machine learning algorithms to work, the software needs a lot of data - hundreds of thousands of recordings of sounds one might encounter in the world.

Realizing that the amount of data they were after wasn't available in the world, they hired a field audio team to document and record all the sounds of today's world.

They have about 100,000 samples now.

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