Drunk-dialing your former girlfriends from a noisy bar just got intelligible, if not intelligent. A mobile-phone headset from Aliph debuts a noise-suppression system that its designers say can drown out a weed whacker. Jawbone ($150), due this fall, uses a digital signal processor (DSP) running proprietary algorithms to scrub background noise from your outgoing calls. What’s unique is its voice activity sensor, a rubber node that rests against the cheek and picks up vocal vibrations through your jawbone. This crucial stream of data—are you talking or not?—when analyzed in conjunction with data from the two microphones, helps the DSP calculate a precise digital map of the noise. It then compares this against everything it hears, and removes the din before shipping out a clean signal. The upshot: Jawbone makes a more informed call about what is noise and what is voice. As for the decisions you make, you’re on your own.
Jawbone’s 15-gram earpiece/boom is spring-loaded to seat the voice sensor against your cheek. A port in the stainless-steel casing allows one mic to detect background noise.
A Sound Accessory
A belt clip houses the processor, which analyzes three streams of data
500 times a second to identify noise.
A unique sensor translates vocal vibrations from your jawbone into binary data.
The unidirectional voice microphone is set at 90 degrees to the noise microphone to help separate data.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.