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Block out screaming babies or the mother-in-law with these smart earbuds

Stuck next to a whining child or obnoxious suit on the commute? With a fiddle of your phone you could cancel out their noise pollution thanks to these clever new earphones, which can also enhance sounds that you want to hear.

The Here Active Listening system, developed by Doppler Labs, gives users the ability to pick and choose what they can hear in real life and filter out any unpleasant noise. Just slip the two reasonably discreet earphones in and, with the help of your smartphone and a companion app, you’ll be able to dial down any invasive environmental sounds.

Here Active Listening is more than just a method of attenuating ambient noise, however. It should also let you crank things up and add effects as and when you see fit. So for instance, if you’re at a concert and you feel like it could do with a bit more bass, or even a little reverb, add the effect and you’ll be good to go.

The ear-buds are effectively a microphone and a small speaker, similar to standard noise-cancelling earphones. The smart part is the tiny little computer inside, which figures out the frequency of any noises you want to cut out or enhance and then makes the necessary changes in lightning-quick time before feeding the pleasing new audio into your ear.

Here Active Listening is powered by an ARM processor and also features a Bluetooth Low Energy module, to allow for communication with your smartphone. The Lithium ion battery promises four to six hours of use off a single charge, plenty to get you to work and back each day.

Doppler say the system will work with any iOS device or any Android one which supports BLE, so anything from Android 4.3 onward should work just fine. As ever, there’s no mention of support for Windows Phone.

Unsurprisingly for such an advanced and potentially huge invention, Here has surpassed its funding target on Kickstarter already, raking in over $360,000 in the first week. But if you’re determined to get involved with this particular deal, you can still put your money where your mouth is with one of the many funding berths that are available, which range from $199 (£130) all the way up to $5,000 (£3,280).


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