The Coming Wave of Bionic Hearing Gadgets
Startups like Doppler Labs are building earbuds that will let you turn down the volume on crying babies and pump up the bass on live music.
MIT Technology Review
By Rachel Metz
August 14, 2015
In a windowless office on a tiny San Francisco side street, Noah Kraft is making me hear things in a way I’ve never heard them before.
I’m wearing a wireless earbud in each ear. The devices, which are white and look kind of like big Altoids mints, are the latest prototype built by Doppler Labs, a wearable-technology startup of which Kraft is cofounder and CEO. Kraft is sitting diagonally across from me, chatting, and using an iPhone app to manipulate the sound of his voice and the relatively quiet background noise of the office in ways that only I can hear.
He adds an echo to his voice. He raises and lowers the bass, treble, and midrange. Then he stands up and walks several feet away, but he sounds as loud as if he were yapping right in my ear—until I take out the earbuds and confirm that he’s actually speaking pretty quietly.