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Link: Noise-canceling headphones use AI to let a single voice through

A new prototype AI system for such headphones aims to solve this. Called Target Speech Hearing, the system gives users the ability to select a person whose voice will remain audible even when all other sounds are canceled out. Although the technology is currently a proof of concept, its creators say they are in talks to embed it in popular brands of noise-canceling earbuds and are also working to make it available for hearing aids. “Listening to specific people is such a fundamental aspect of how we communicate and how we interact in the world with other humans,” says Shyam Gollakota, a professor at the University of Washington, who worked on the project. “But it can get really challenging, even if you don’t have any hearing loss issues, to focus on specific people when it comes to noisy situations.” The same researchers previously managed to train a neural network to recognize and filter out certain sounds, such as babies crying, birds tweeting, or alarms ringing. But separating out human voices is a tougher challenge, requiring much more complex neural networks.  #


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