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Although this project is considered old by blog standards (2002), we still like the simplicity of this device. The “Transparent Headphones” are a custom built pair of headphones with a microphone attached to the outside of each ear piece. The device detects nearby sounds and fades the sound out of the corresponding ear that detects the loudest sounds. So for instance, if you are at work in front of your computer with your headphones on and someone is trying to talk to you on your right, your right ear’s phone will fade out and the microphone’s output will fade in so you can hear what they are saying. Pretty simple idea that we hope will be integrated into all future headphones.

Transparent Headphones Project Page