You are currently viewing AI Headphones Focus on One Voice in a Crowd with a Glance

AI Headphones Focus on One Voice in a Crowd with a Glance

Rate this post

Noise-blocking headphones are good at stopping sound, but still struggle to let other sounds through. For instance, Apple’s latest AirPods Pro can adjust levels of noise cancellation automatically, but users still can’t decide who or what to listen to.

So University of Washington researchers created an AI system called “Targeted Speech Hearing,” they explained May 14 at a virtual conference. The system lets a headphone wearer look at someone speaking for a few seconds to “enroll” them. Then the headphones silence everything except that speaker’s voice, even if the listener moves around in a noisy place.

The team also shared code so others can use and improve upon it, but this isn’t something you’ll find for sale anywhere yet.

“We often think of artificial intelligence as only [being used by] online chatbots,” said Shyam Gollakota, a UW professor involved in the project. “But here, AI changes how we hear sounds around us. With our device, you can hear one person clearly, even in a crowded place.”

To start using the system, wear regular headphones with added microphones and press a button while looking at someone speaking — this act enrolls their voice with the computer. Keep wearing the headphones: They will continue capturing that person’s voice through the mics and sending it to the computer. Thereafter, the system will play that voice back to you no matter where you move within range –– getting better at honing only on its source as it hears more from it.

In tests with 21 people, the system made an enrolled talker’s voice nearly twice as clear as without the setup did.

Source: sciencedaily