On Tuesday, Cupertino, California-based Soundhawk announced they were unveiling their Smart Listening System and taking pre-orders. The set allows the user to make the most of sounds in everyday living, letting the person choose. Think of smarter listening. CEO Michael Kisch said, "We created Soundhawk to help each of us hear more of what matters most." Vision is extremely important to how we experience our environment and hearing is too. Much of what we learn is by listening. In modern life, especially in urban environments, there is a lot of sound out there competing with what we need to hear, competing with street drills to barking dogs to traffic horns, to indoor and noisy restaurants and cafes, and we try not to miss things. Having to ask callers or neighbors to repeat or shout is tedious and uncomfortable; the company is offering a way for easier listening.
The hearing system is now at a presale price of $279. Soundhawk's suggested retail price is $299. The system is made up of headset, mic, charging case (a portable home base for the earpiece and wireless mic) and smartphone application. The headset is linked via Bluetooth to the phone application, where users can proceed to calibrate. The user can calibrate the device to emphasize desired conversational speech, for example, while cancelling out background noise.
The earpiece, called Scoop, is 33mm in length, 9.5mm in depth and weighing 6g. Scoop is paired with the mobile app, presenting four choices as indoors, outdoors, dining, or driving. You touch the screen to personalize the sound environment you want. Simply place your finger on your smartphone screen and while dragging or tapping your finger you hear differences in realtime. Once you locate the position that you think sounds best, you release your finger and your Soundhawk is personalized.
The system works with iPhones or Android phones over Bluetooth 2.1. A wireless microphone can be placed on a table or clipped to a shirt pocket to deliver sound up to 33 feet away. The wireless range is up to 33ft (10m), and 15 feet for optimal performance.
The company web site presents a full list of supported Apple and Android device models; additionally, the user will need access to a Mac or Windows based computer with Internet access to download and install firmware updates. The company said they currently support laptops and desktops running Mac OS X 10.7 and later, and Windows 7 and later.
The company also announced additional funding through investors, and a strategic partnership with Foxconn. Soundhawk is the creation of hearing expert, Dr. Rodney Perkins, founder of Stanford's California Ear Institute,
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