From wearables to hearable – Digital is getting audible with augmented listening experiences

Hearable Design Study by Nicolas Sadoc
Source: Nicolas Sadoc, CC BY-SA 4.0

Looking at a screen and typing seems almost stale. Virtual reality lets us forget about the real world. Augmented reality merges the physical with the digital world. Smartphones and virtual assistants understand what we say. Looking at this development, it was only a matter of time before hearing also receives its own frontend.

The full picture, not seen, but heard

Hearables, minicomputers for the ear canal, do just that and could push screens into the background as a standalone device in combination with voice control. The most recent example is Pixel Buds from Google. Similar to the Pilot Translating Earpiece by Waverly Labs, the headphones, coupled to a smartphone, are capable of translating live conversations in over 40 languages. The language barrier is meeting its technological end.

More promising, however, is the area of augmented hearing. As with augmented reality, additional digital information is provided, which in this case is output not visually but rather acoustically. Doppler Labs offers here for its smart headphones, One, for example, gives you the ability to play scores and comments directly over the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball games.
A different way than the combination of smartphone and headphone is the hearable »The Dash« by Bragi. This is actually a mini computer with touch controls and motion sensors. By nodding or shaking your head, you can confirm or reject input via the smart headphones. For example, whether to remember a calendar entry or not. There are also options for fitness tracking and high-quality features, such as noise cancellation.

For marketers, this creates a new channel to reach customers. For industry and assembly work, digital hearing could be the trigger for additional digital services; Especially in dirt-intensive operations or where tablets fail because users do not have their hands free.

Make customers hear what they want

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