If you've stepped onto a long haul flight reccently you will have no doubt noticed most people sporting fancy looking noise cancelling headphones.
These clever little devices block out repetitive noises (plane engines, traffic and your fellow commuters) and replace them with your own soundtrack.
But now it looks like Bose, one of the more popular brands in noise cancellation, might be fliping the personal audiosphere on its head(phones).
A new set of 'hearphones' have quietly appeared on the company's website, which boast the ability to
help you focus on conversations in noisy places
focus, amplify or reduce real-world sounds.
Through a clever set up of customisable, directional microphones, Bose claim that while using the 'hearphones' you can filter out realworld noise to focus on a paticular conversation, TV or even a live band at a gig.
The new device was first spotted by the good folks over at Hacker News, where one user said the 'hearphones' might help them understand what other people are saying in crowded and noisy rooms.
"People think I'm bored or brooding because I'm not talking to anyone," explained the original poster, "But I just can't understand anything anyone says, so I can't participate in a conversation."
The new product, which people first picked up on via an event page on Bose's website, also acompanies a custom app which was released on the iTunes store last week.
It would appear that users will be able to control the 'world volume', along with their device's volume. They'll also be able to control the dirctional microphones at will from front, to focused, to everywhere.
UK charity Action on Hearing Loss estimated last year that there were more than 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss - although this new technology isn't meant to replace the conventional hearing aid, it looks like it could certainly help peple out in a crowd.
HT The Verge