New AI technology from UW researchers lets noise-canceling headphone wearers choose which sounds they hear

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has developed deep learning algorithms that let users choose which sounds are filtered through their headphones in real time. In this supplied image, co-author Malek Itani is seen demonstrating the system.

University of Washington

We typically use noise-canceling headphones to drown out unpleasant sounds, such as cars honking or construction machinery drilling. But what if you still wanted to hear someone knocking on your door or birds chirping on your walk? New artificial intelligence technology from the University of Washington may soon make that possible. Researchers developed an algorithm that allows users to choose which sounds can filter through their headphones in real time.

Shyam Gollakota is a professor of computer science and engineering at the UW. He joins us with more details about the new technology and the ethical implications of choosing your own sound environment.

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