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Hear Only What You Want to with Augmented Reality Earbuds

For when you still need to hear the phone ring, or approaching cars, but not much else.

There are many environmental discomforts you can control or at least mitigate. If it’s too cold, wear a jacket; if it’s too bright, put on a pair of sunnies. But noise is somewhat trickier to manage.Earplugs are an option, albeit a heavy-handed one – and what if you need to pay attention to your surroundings?

Enter a high-tech solution to a lo-fi problem: Here Active Listening buds. At first glance, these appear to be common wireless earphones. They don’t stream any music, however, but record ambient sounds, modulate them to your preferences, and play the augmented audio back to you – all with no perceptible lag.

In other words, you hear only the good stuff , which leads us to a host of useful real-life applications, from silencing insufferable crying babies who have inconsiderately found their way into the front cabin to enhancing the bass at a club too cheap to invest in proper woofers.

Despite its origins as a Kickstarter crowd-funding project, the product brims with professional touches. You configure Here over the air via Bluetooth on a smartphone app, and its carrying case contains a built-in battery that extends its five-hour charge twice over for all-day usage.

Its maker, Doppler Labs, has since evolved into a start-up firm and has found backing from the music industry, from Universal Music Group to Quincy Jones and Tiesto. Now, if the company could find a way to eliminate foul odours as well, it could quite possibly take over the world…

The initial production run of 10,000 units is already spoken for. Join the waiting list at