Google’s Project Wolverine is a HEARING AID in the future…
Google’s X division has been secretly working on a fascinating project it calls “Wolverine.” It has to do with technology that enhances augmented reality (AR) applications. Google’s X division focuses exclusively on “moonshot” projects.
Project Wolverine is all about supplying users with a wearable device that employs directional microphones to enable “super hearing.” It’s a reference to the X-Men character Wolverine. The technology is still being fleshed out. The idea is that these directional microphones will connect to ear pods and likely work in conjunction with both outward- and inward-facing cameras on a pair of glasses or some other wearable device. This will allow the sensor-packed hardware to know who we are focusing on in the noisy room. And then we can direct the microphones to zero in on what that person is saying. The mics will filter out the background noise so we can hear our target clearly. This technology is called speech segregation, and I think it is the future.
. Speech segregation solves the problem of hearing in a noisy environment. We can imagine using this device at events like restaurants or parties to focus in on the person we are speaking to. This cuts through all the chaos in common areas. Of course, the same dynamic is true for any other event or gathering. This tech would be useful even at our holiday dinners or cocktail parties. So I think that every company working on AR will ultimately adopt this technology. It just makes too much sense.
However, there are major privacy concerns with this. It’s easy to imagine how this tech could be used for nefarious purposes. Bad actors could eavesdrop on private conversations happening at coffee shops, restaurants, and town squares.
And then there’s Google… We already know that Google’s goal is to extract as much behavioral data from us as possible. The company packages this data into a detailed dossier that it sells to anyone willing to pay. In this way, the argument could be made that Google knows many of us better than we know ourselves. Now, imagine Google pairing facial recognition technology with speech segregation. Suddenly, Google can document exactly what we are talking about out in public. That gives it an even more invasive framework in which to build its profile on us. So this is incredibly useful technology that I believe will gain rapid adoption. But as with everything, we need to be diligent about how it is used. Let us hope that other Corporations will adopt this technology for the common good.
Many “DIRECTIONAL HEARING AIDS ” have been on the market beginning about 50 years ago with Maico Hearing aid Company. I introduced that hearing aid in the Los Angeles county on TV, radio and the Los Angeles Times 3/4 page advertisement. I formed an advertising group of Southern Calif. Specialists. I was the President of “The Guild of Hearing Aid Disp.”
The BTE Hearing aid had 2 mics (Knowles) in a behind ear hearing aid. The front facing mic amplified the full sound. The rear facing mic reduced the sound coming from the rear, about 40% . They provide a significant benefit. The idea has been copied by most every other company since.
But today, when these mics are coupled with more mics. and the advanced technology that is described above, we will see great advances of HEARING IN NOISY SITUATIONS..