Google’s parent company is working on a top-secret project codenamed “Wolverine”. It is supposed to be a wearable device that will expand the limits of human hearing, allowing the wearer to focus on the speech of specific people, even if they are in a crowd.
The Division X of Alphabet holding (Google’s parent company) is developing a device with which the user can gain “inhuman” hearing, Business Insider reports. The project was named “Wolverine” – in honor of a mutant superhero with a similar ability.
It is worth noting that there are not so many wearable gadgets in Google’s arsenal – among them, only Pixel Buds headphones and Google Glass smart glasses can be distinguished. A device that will allow a person to improve their hearing could join this line if it ever goes commercial.
According to BI, the development of the Wolverine project has been underway since 2018.
The device, which will be a small earpiece, is designed to help the wearer “focus on a specific speaker in a group with conversations that overlap.” In other words, the user will be able to select a person in a noisy crowd in order to “tune in” to him and hear what he is saying.
It is assumed that this gadget will not only give a person superpowers in the form of improved hearing, but also help hearing impaired patients. This effect will be achieved thanks to an in-ear headphone equipped with a large number of sensors and microphones.
A spokesperson for Division X confirmed that the team is in the early stages of “future hearing research,” but declined to provide further comments.
At the same time, sources claim that the project “Wolverine” may be hiding not one device or application, but a whole line, if the researchers manage to “figure out the physics.” Over the past three years, the super hearing earphone has undergone several changes. It is reported that one of the most difficult design problems is the placement of a large number of sensors within one small gadget.
Also, according to information from Business Insider, obtained from a source within the company, currently the inventors from X are also working on another wearable device that will need to be worn on the head.
The codename for this project is Heimdall. This is one of the gods of Scandinavian mythology, who is called “all-seeing” and “all-hearing”.
It is possible that we are talking about new augmented reality glasses that will replace Google Glass.
By the way, initially, Google Glass also originated within the walls of the X laboratory, which is engaged in promising technologies. However, this ambitious project has remained one of the most disastrous in the history of the company. First of all, in 2013, the public was presented with a “raw”, unfinished prototype, as Google co-founder, Sergey Brin wanted to know the community’s reaction to the new gadget as soon as possible. In addition, there is a version that Google glasses appeared on the market before it was ready to introduce augmented reality into everyday life.
However, Google does not give up and continues to improve Google Glass – for example, in May 2019, the next version of these smart glasses was released for commercial use. It is possible that “Heimdall” will mean a restart of the headset, which again will have a chance to satisfy consumers.