New Product Seeks to Improve How We Hear the World

July 14, 2015

The idea of technology serving to improve your day-to-day life is nothing new. But one company is seeking to do that in a way that you might not expect. Doppler Labs, the company behind Dubs earplugs, has developed a new product called Here. Here is a pair of small, battery-powered earbuds that contain a microphone, speaker and digital sound processor. The processor functions with virtually zero latency so that Here can affect the way we hear the world in real-time.

Your Next Wearable Might be a ‘Hearable’

CEO and co-founder Noah Kraft says he wants to “put a computer, speaker, and mic in everyone’s ear.” The goal being to tailor the sound to each individual’s needs and preferences. Here is not a Bluetooth headset, a hearing aid or a recording device. It is made to tune out the sounds that you don’t want to hear and finesse the ones that you do.

Here’s functionality ranges from basic, with volume control for the world around you, to advanced equalizer effects that can isolate certain frequencies and either suppress or amplify them. This frequency targeting can be used to fine tune music like a traditional equalizer; or you can lock into a specific frequency, say a baby crying, and suppress it with anti-noise technology. And, more for fun than functionality, you can add effects like reverb or echo to the world around you.

Much More than a Bluetooth Headset

While Kraft maintains Here is not a Bluetooth headset, it is a Bluetooth headset in that it connects via Bluetooth and is controlled through your smartphone. But the processing occurs in the buds themselves to eliminate any lag.

The Future Is Sounding Good

Here is certainly an ambitious product, albeit a niche one. If it proves effective, there will likely be a passionate consumer base. They have already gone through a successful round of funding via Kickstarter, with over 200% funding, and recently received $17 million in series B funding. Despite early investor interest, Doppler seems intent not to get ahead of themselves. Dubs earplugs served as a sort of beta test for Here and they see Here as the next step. They have long term goals for the future of hearable technology, and Here is an early, but perhaps revolutionary, stepping stone along the way.

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