Doppler earbuds that allow user to change how they hear raise US$17m

10 Jul 2015

Person wearing Doppler Lab's Here earbuds. Image: Doppler Labs

Simply called Here, earbuds created by Doppler Labs are worn just like you would any pair of in-ear headphones. With these, though, you can control through your phone exactly what you hear from your surroundings.

According to Business Insider, Doppler Labs announced it has raised this new funding in a Series B investment that will bring it to the marketplace.

Doppler recently took to Kickstarter to raise funding for the project, which is still in prototype stage, and ended up more than doubling its target. The company is now in the process of fine-tuning the technology to allow for greater customisation of what you can tune in or out.

Described by its CEO and co-founder as the first ‘hearable’ device, the device will in effect allow someone travelling on an underground railway to take out their phone while wearing the buds and simply tap a ‘reduce subway’ button to lower the noises associated with it.

Likewise, when attending a music gig, the tinny, distant sound that can sometime come from the singer’s vocals can be fine-tuned so that this sound comes out clearer than the reverberating bass that those not using the earbuds would hear.

Here earbuds product shot

Aside from its crowdfunding campaign, Doppler Labs also claims major music moguls like Tiësto and Hans Zimmer as investors who have contributed to development of the music-listening element of the Here earbuds.

In terms of what actually alters the sound, the company’s VP of product development, Kennard Nielsen, says it lies in the codec which processes the audio and re-shapes it within the body of the earbuds.

Eventually, the company wants to be able to make the device passive, rather than manually controlled as it is now, by creating a system that will offer automatic tuning depending on your location based off previous users’ experiences.

For now, however, the company will launch its first set of ‘bionic ears’ in December this year, with prices starting at US$249 (€224).

In the meantime, here’s Hans Zimmer saying that the Here buds are, like, “you know, Superman sh**”.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic