Audio Analytic strikes hearables deal with Bragi
Features for earbuds now include fitbit-style options
Audio Analytic founder and CEO Dr Chris Mitchell is delighted to be ending the year on a high – thanks to “a partnership to collaborate on incorporating sound recognition capabilities into Bragi devices”.
Bragi is a German firm which manufactures wireless earbuds with features including real-time translation, fitness tracking, music, and gesture controls.
Bragi’s range is “typically in-ear, wireless and with some sort of smart monitoring” – often suitable for running, cycling and swimming.
It works like a Fitbit in your ear. Bragi’s top-end Dash Pro checks heart rate, calories used, duration (ie time spent running), step count, distance, cadence (pedalling) speed, breaths taken and lengths swum.
“The companies share a vision of how embeddable intelligent sound recognition can bring new levels of usability, convenience and safety to earphone users,” said Audio Analytic, which was founded in 2010, in a statement.
The firm is a pioneer of sound recognition software with its HQ in Quayside, Cambridge, a sound lab in Nuffield Road and a US office in Palo Alto.
“We’d both been looking at this area of cloudless AI in the hearables sector,” Chris said of its German partner. It’s an equal relationship: his firm is a world leader in its sector.
“There are 35 people in the firm, 30 are writing software, and they include some of the world’s foremost experts in sound recognition.”
Hearables are being taken to new, feature-rich, heights by firms like Audio Analytic, which has patented sound recognition software framework called ai3 to provide technology with the ability to understand context through sound.
The feature is immersive like you wouldn’t believe – they fit so snugly into your ears “you’ve effectively made yourself deaf”, says Chris. The software needs to single out the important bits of the aural universe you’re in, so it can tell if a sound is a pane of glass breaking, a dog barking or a baby crying.
“We’re working our way throiugh the taxanomy of sounds – human, animal and mechanical,” says Dr Mitchell.
You can find out more if you can drop into Las Vegas for the CES Show from January 9-12.
Audio Analytic will use its conversation detection demonstration, developed with Bragi, “to illustrate how sound recognition can help consumers seamlessly move between a rich audio experience and spontaneous interactions with their friends and important events around them”.
“Knowing you’re having a conversation with someone is vital,” says Chris. “At CES, we’ll have the world’s first ever demo of that type of cloudless conversation detection software.”
Hearables isn’t the only sector Audio Analytic has software for – there’s also automotive, watches, home and mobile offerings – but there is a sense that the small earpieces photographed above are in a sector where technology is evolving the most rapidly.
“Sound recognition is in many of 2018’s smart home devices but we see opportunities across a wide range of markets,” continued Chris. “Anywhere sounds either get in the way, are important or need enhancing, our technology adds considerable value. For us, the next logical step beyond smart homes is the fast-paced hearables market where audio experiences are fundamental. There is rapid development of new capabilities and where not needing a tether to the cloud is an advantage. I am delighted to be working with Bragi as they grow this market.”
Darko Dragicevic, EVP partners and solutions at Bragi, said: “Since we started out we’ve always been about delivering first-rate experiences for customers and thanks to our SDK and platform approach it was a no brainer for Audio Analytic to use the Dash to test some new ideas and identify the opportunities to apply sound recognition to hearables with Bragi.”