June 18, 2024

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Washington Tech: AI-powered headphones to improve voice clarity

Washington Tech: AI-powered headphones to improve voice clarity

MUNICH (IT BOLTWISE) – Researchers at the University of Washington have developed headphones that, thanks to the support of artificial intelligence, can be directed at a specific person in the room to amplify their voice.

The new AI headphones go beyond the usual transparency modes, which simply amplify all ambient noise or the voices of everyone present. The system that has been developed is called “Targeted Speech Hearing”. For this technique to work, the headphone wearer must target a specific person for 3 to 5 seconds. The person's voice is then amplified further, even if they are out of sight. However, the development is not yet available for commercial use because the application is still complex.

Although wearers can use modified ANC headphones, the audio signal must be analyzed and processed by a built-in computer. There is also an error range of 16 degrees. It is possible for the wrong speaker to be amplified when two people are standing next to each other. Otherwise, the speaker's voice, once recognized, is continuously analyzed during amplification in order to further improve with new training data.

Commercial potential of hearing aids
Test participants who were actually able to test the system described the speaker sounds as up to twice as clear after the AI ​​processing, compared to “normal” playback via headphones. What can still be improved? Currently, only one person's voice can be amplified at a time. So, if there are multiple speakers, the whole thing can become difficult. Furthermore, the procedure only works if the similarly loud sound is not coming from the same direction.

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Scientists are working to improve the system further so that it can be used for TWS earbuds, especially hearing aids. The whole thing can be useful, for example: This can also be the case, for example, during public speeches or lectures, when ambient noise may impair the speaker's clarity.


Washington Tech: AI-powered headphones to improve voice clarity
University of Washington technology: AI-powered headphones to improve sound clarity (Image: DALL-E, IT BOLTWISE)

notice: Parts of this text may have been generated using artificial intelligence.


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