You are walking on busy street in New York wearing basic noise cancelling headphone doing its job by eliminating unwanted noise around the street. Just think of a case when a car driving towards you honking to acknowledge it presence and your noise canceling headphone eliminate this noise! It seems scary right? Noise cancelling headphones can definitely eliminate the unwanted noise but some noises you cannot ignore while walking on subway, like a car horn, ambulance siren etc.

To avoid such incidents, there are few headphone manufacturer are building smart noise canceling headphones that mute sounds when hear some important noise like some words, horn or siren. It is very important for one to wear a headphone that does not hurt but can save in such situation.

Amazon is one of such company who is working on such technology to improve the effectiveness of noise canceling headphone. The patent entitled “Suspending noise cancellation using keyword spotting” is recently awarded to Amazon technologies Inc on 19th July 2016. The patent was filed on 25th July 2014 and the inventor listed in patent are two software developer at Amazon Benjamin David Scott & Mark Edward Rafn.

Here is the drawing sheet of this noise cancelling headphone

noise cancellation headphone

According to this diagram, it seems that the headphone will mute when some predetermined keyword / phrases will spotted. Here is the abstract curated from the patent page:

Aspects of the disclosure provide suspension of noise cancellation at a noise-cancelling device using keyword spotting. In one aspect, a predetermined word or phrase can be spotted within an utterance received at the noise-cancelling device, and in response, noise cancellation can be suspended or otherwise terminated. The predetermined word or phrase can be specific to an end-user that utilizes the noise-cancelling device and/or a person that interacts with the end-user. In another aspect, interaction between an operator and the noise-cancelling device can be monitored after noise cancellation is suspended, and based at least on such interaction, a model for keyword spotting can be refined. In certain aspects, noise cancellation at the noise-cancelling device can be suspended or otherwise terminated in response to receiving a suspension directive via an electronic non-audio signal, for example, from a peripheral device.

I won’t be no surprise if Amazon launch the smart noise cancellation headphone build on this technology in near future. It will definitely save many people from getting hurt while not listening to important voice while wearing noise cancelling headphones.

According to you, which are the other important features there should be incorporated in such headphones? do write your views here by comment.