A team of engineers based at the University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering are exploring a new sub-area of mobile technology based on sophisticated and connected earphones.
Choudhury and his colleagues – who are drawing from a wide range of fields – are developing new algorithms and experimenting with them on earphone platforms with live users. They hope that in the future, these wearable devices will continuously sense human behaviour; run acoustic augmented reality; have digital assistants whisper information, and track user health and fitness.
The researchers have published a series of papers in this area, including a recent paper on voice localisation for earphones.
“If you want to find a store in a mall, the earphone could estimate the relative location of the store and play a 3D voice that simply says ‘Follow me’. In your ears, the sound would appear to come from the direction in which you should walk, as if it’s a voice escort,” said PhD student Zhijian Yang.