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Brief Published: 12 Jun 2015

Human+ Hearing


San Francisco-based tech start-up Doppler Labs is launching a set of wireless earbuds that let the wearer personalise how they hear the world.

The Here earbuds do not stream or play recorded music, but instead allow you to control real-world sounds as they reach your ear. Users can control volume and tone – and even layer sound effects over their surroundings – with the paired smartphone app.

Doppler Labs describes Here as an "audio curation tool" that allows the wearer to eliminate unpleasant sounds, such as in-flight noise, or tailor sounds to their liking – particularly during live music events.

Doppler Labs has already raised more than $390,000 through its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, exceeding its target of $250,000. Available for pre-order for $179, the earbuds will start shipping in December 2015.

Doppler Labs says Here is the first step in its wider vision for the future of in-ear wearable technology ('hearables'): "We believe in a post-mobile future, where tech gets out of the way of the human experience." In the future, the technology could integrate voice controls and "transform the fundamentals of human communication".

'Hearables' are emerging as a strong sub-category in wearable tech. Earlier this year, New York-based start-up Waverly Labs, which is developing a wireless smart earpiece for workers, was named a finalist in the SXSW Accelerator competition. For more on the latest advances in wearable tech, see our coverage of this year's CES and Wearable Technology Show.