Facebook Wants to Give You Superhuman Hearing Using AR Glasses


Researchers at Facebook are investigating whether a pair of augmented reality glasses can isolate a specific conversation in a noisy environment like a bar, Digital Trends reports.

“Many people with hearing loss don’t use hearing aids — in part — because they don’t work well in everyday situations like a noisy restaurant, a conversation involving multiple people at a loud party, or in a moving car,” Thomas Lunner, research lead for Facebook’s Hearing Science lab, told Digital Trends.

The team quickly realized that advancements in augmented reality glasses could actually help out hearing aids as well, creating a “system that understands what you want to listen to, isolates and enhances the sounds you want to hear, and reduces distracting background noise,” according to Lunnar.

Lunnar and his team recently published a study in the journal Ear and Hearing detailing how an AR platform could enhance hearing aids, thereby “closing the gap… through multimodal sensor integration, leveraging extensive current artificial intelligence research, and machine-learning frameworks.”

While the hearing aids would still handle the amplification of sound, the new tech could allow them to isolate certain sounds while suppressing others — especially in “problematic listening situations,” such as noisy party.

To pull it off, the team suggests isolating “digital objects,” such as the person somebody is talking to at a party, using the spatial mapping capabilities of AR.

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