Facebook wants to use augmented reality to bring advanced features to the world of audio. More precisely, the goal is to selectively reduce the noise level for certain types of workers, such as waiters in bars and restaurants. Exposure to volume levels above 85 dB for extended periods of time can cause hearing loss, and this is a common scenario in entertainment venues – especially clubs and pubs where the music is loud.
The habit of protecting your ears with hearing protectors is much less common than in other sectors, such as construction or manufacturing, trivially because the waiters have to constantly talk to customers to collect their orders. And this is where the Facebook prototype can come to lend a hand.
The system devised by Facebook could be defined as a headset with cancellation selective of ambient noise: a series of microphones capture the noise of the surrounding area, but at the same time the movement of the user's head and eye is tracked. The device essentially tries to figure out where and what the wearer is trying to hear, and amplifies the sounds coming from that direction while reducing all others.
To see the prototype is not, let's say, the latest fashion, but it is reasonable to expect that once it has been finished and made a little more attractive it could be useful. Clearly the unknown price remains, but it is a problem that we will only have to ask ourselves much later.
It is not the only prototype in progress: another works on the so-called "audio presence", essentially amplifying the volume of the voice of a distant person, as if it were actually close to the wearer of a compatible viewer (in this case an Oculus Rift modified). This requires a properly prepared room, with microphones scattered everywhere – the ideal scenario is a meeting room.
The company's official blog post discussing these advanced prototypes is very long and packed with details. For those wishing to learn more, just follow the SOURCE link below.