The next industry standard for ear worn products
Ear Operating System
Apps for your ears
Headphones first became popular, and people were wearing them in public, when music became portable, thanks to the Sony Walkman. First, we used cassette tapes, then compact discs and then we migrated to digital portable music players such as the iPod. The headphones themselves were very basic, wired devices that simply squirted sound into our ears.
The next phase was driven by wireless connectivity and included simple digital signal processing. Bluetooth products became widespread and the use cases extended beyond just listening to music and allowed us to easily make phone calls, even in noisy environments. We can also enjoy noise cancellation and create a bubble of quiet around us. By adding signal processing to these products it unlocked some new interesting features, such as using our voice as an interface to control the headphone and other connected devices. More recently there has been renewed interest in spatial audio with advanced signal processing for rendering sound with head tracking.
We are now transitioning to a new phase of ear worn technology that will bring a richer user experience to our ears. These new devices will no longer be regarded as simple phone accessories. Our headphones will contain apps and will be driven using software features that will unlock a new wave of innovation.
Apps will allow us to create a personalized experience. We will be able to change what the devices are doing for us at any moment and run multiple functions simultaneously. For example, apps will monitor our sound exposure and offer protection. They will provide everybody with hearing enhancements when we are in noisy environments. These devices will securely collect and monitor our biometric data. We will use multiple forms of connectivity and will no longer be limited by Bluetooth. Our devices will be used for multiple activities during the day and we will soon reach a stage where they will be worn all day long.
As manufacturers look to add more features to differentiate their products, the complexity and processing needs increase significantly. It quickly reaches a point where it becomes impossible to predict which features users want and need during a typical day. The answer to this problem is all around us. We live in a digital world and we are already very familiar with devices we use every day that meet every individual's needs. Our phones, laptops, smart watches, tablets… all are personalised, configured and updated through apps.
Sonical is enabling apps for your ears.