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Noise-cancelling headphones for the blind

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Everyone sit down and make sure your mug of tea or any sharp objects are at a safe distance, because this is an idea that actually might have some practical application!

Some blind or partially sighted people find it helpful to make regular clicking noises as they walk along. The changing nature of the echo reveals a lot about their surroundings, including detail such as the proximity and type of material of a fence or wall they're walking past. Of course bats use this, but in a clever way, so that they close their ears while making the click or squeak (so that they don't deafen themselves) and open their ears to hear the echo.

So, this idea gives some of the advantages of the bat's system to blind people and adds a few convenient bits of technology too. You would wear a pair of headphones which would be extremely 'leaky' - i.e. they let through all the sound that is around you. They also emit periodic high-frequency clicks outwards, and a noise-cancelling version of this click into the wearer's ears. The headphones also listen for the echo of the click and can either amplify it for the wearer's benefit, or shift its frequency down to make it more hearable.
hippo, Oct 15 2019

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       Shaped like bat ears?
xenzag, Oct 15 2019
  

       Yes - and other novelty ears should be available
hippo, Oct 15 2019
  

       How about "brexit cancelling headphones" that automatically screen out every sentence that follows the first detection of the word "brexit"?
xenzag, Oct 15 2019
  

       //How about "cancelling headphones" that automatically screen out every sentence that follows the first detection of the word?//   

       Sorry [xen] I don't understand your comment. What word are you referring to?
pocmloc, Oct 15 2019
  

       [pocmloc] oh you have them.
po, Oct 19 2019
  

       Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to walk with you again,
because an echo rapidly ticking
left no sound while it was clicking,
and the vision that was planted in my brain...
still remains,
within the sound of silence.
  

       What is it you've got against Norwegians [hippo]?
Skewed, Oct 19 2019
  

       //or shift its frequency down to make it more hearable//   

       [+] So many ways of doing this. An array of transducers could increase radial awareness based on walking speed / frequency or a whole host of stuff.   

       With stuff like this though I always worry that someone will rush an implementation that is in nobody's interest. Some people might ruin their hearing domain just to try a bad implementation.
bigsleep, Oct 20 2019
  
      
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