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Transparent Headphones will enable you to hear the important stuff

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Music
Transparent Headphones will enable you to hear the important stuff

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

10 thoughts on “Transparent Headphones will enable you to hear the important stuff

  1. sweavo says:

    Technology like this should be mandatory on all vehicles. It would deactivate for highways and activate for urban manoevring. Could use speed, GPS or profiling the external sounds for whether to switch it in or out.

  2. Stoner says:

    The reason why I wear headphones is to not listen to things around me.

  3. Doctor Popular says:

    Although I can’t find a link, Apple has a patent on technology to mix real world sounds into your headphone audio using the iPhone’s microphone. This wasn’t automatic (and probably only mono) but the level was fade-able via the iPhone’s touchscreen interface.

  4. says:

    oh crap, sorry about the triple posts. To be fair, I wasn’t just hitting the post button over and over again.
    I actually waited over ten minutes and still didn’t see my comment, so I reposted.
    Add to that the several times I was taken to an error page saying I hadn’t entered text properly (refering to the capthca I imagine, which was correct). Trying to comment on this post has been very annoying so far.

  5. Transparent Headphones will enable you to hear the important stuff Becky Stern says:

    We’ll admit that openid support for movable type is less than perfect, so sorry for that. We can also very easily fix duplicate comments, so don’t worry about it.

    As for the headphones, my Grados have performed this same function quite well for me, except that the sound leaks out of them too, so fellow riders on the subway could hear my music if I had it up too loud. But the open bass channels have saved me from fast approaching moving vehicles more than once! I’ll give the above headphones massive style points, though.

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