Tune In, Tune Out

A Snap-On Solution for Selective Noise Isolation


TITO

Executive Summary

As students, there are enough struggles around focus management-- there should be fewer barriers keeping you from succeeding. In class, environmental noises distract your focus, causing you to miss part of the lecture. You are trying to have a group meeting but you have trouble hearing everyone over others talking. Students should be able to focus on the task at hand without having to worry about trouble hearing.

Our goal is to create a device that can attach to any existing headphone set, plug into the auxiliary port and become selective noise isolation headphones. The selectivity will come in form of different settings, controlled through a companion app. The user will be able to choose to tune into a lecturer speaking, or be able to tune out everyone in a crowded cafe except their friend. This will allow for a more focused user experience, as well as enable impromptu, focused, collaborative environments in areas that would otherwise not be.

By expanding on the fields of active noise cancelling headphones and personal assistant voice recognition we will utilize directional microphones to isolate sounds around the user. We leverage microphone arrays from and signal processing techniques to identify the sounds and allow the user to select which sounds are heard through the headphones.

Abstract

TITO attaches to any existing headphone set to create a customized, selective noise isolation system. The user is able to tune in to a speaker in a lecture, or tune out everyone in a crowded cafe except for their friend. TITO allows for a safer, more focused user experience, as well as enables an impromptu collaborative space without being restricted by the working environment.

Recent advances in the headphone industry have led to wider consumer adoption. With more people owning a noise cancellation headset than ever before. Companies such as Amazon have also been able to incorporate active noise cancellation into their earbuds which is another milestone in the industry. However, despite these advances, industry grade headsets are only able to cover frequencies up to 1KHz. Given that humans can hear frequencies within the range 20Hz to 20KHz, this leaves a lot of noise that traditional headsets are unable to filter out. Our proposal is a selective noise isolation system that is interoperable with existing headsets. The user will be able to use their regular headsets to connect to our device and then selectively choose which sounds/voice-profiles/frequencies to be filtered in/out. Our device will be paired with the user's headset via Bluetooth.

Inspiration

We wanted to create a device that both expands upon existing advancements in noise cancellation technology and helps promote efficient work environments with the benefit of helping people focus. With all of our team being users of noise-canceling headphones, we decided that all or nothing cancellation should be a thing of the past. This gave us the idea of creating a customizable experience that allows the user to choose what they want to hear.

What it does

TITO can selectively cancel out noises based on amplitude, frequency, or direction.

How We built it

There is a combination of hardware for signal acquisition with an on board micro-controller as well as an app to provide a good user experience. There is a separate of tasks that takes place in both the analog and digital domain. In the analog path we have developed a tunable fourth order bandpass filter which allows for cancelling of sound outside of the desired band without compromising any latency. In the digital path we use signal processing techniques to identify sounds as well as leverage the directionality of a six microphone array to create a more selective environment.

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