Doppler Labs has acquired $17 million in Series B funding and a growing list of high-profile investors, as it readies to roll out its latest project in immersive wearable technology.
Through the Here Active Listening System, the startup aims to give people control over their live audio environment. Sounds mysterious? The product actually looks simple enough: a pair of wireless earbuds (or, ‘Herebuds,’ as they’re called), but its technology – a microphone, speaker and digital signal processor – allows users to change how they listen to their surrounding world with tandem use of a smartphone app and “signal-processing algorithms that target specific frequency ranges to modify sound” in real-time as it enters the ears. Its functionality could make it a game-changer in festival and club settings, but Doppler Labs wants to enhance regular life too.
Here Active comes with five key features: Real World Volume Control, which essentially cancels out noise; Live Music Equalization, to enhance the concert experience; Sound Effects, for altering real-world sound through reverb, echo, vinyl, flange, etc.; Preset Filters (to “Instagram your ears”); and Preset Modes to optimize sound in specific settings – for instance, suppressing the sound of the jet engine or crying babies on an airplane, or reducing outside chatter while in the office. An audio clip below demonstrates some of the functions.
Richie Hawtin’s Plus Eight Equity Fund, WME, Live Nation and Universal Music Group are the latest to come on board as investors; the company has previously pulled in or partnered with the likes of Acequia Capital, The Chernine Group, Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer, TAO Group and booking agency AM Only. Earlier this year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise $250,000 in 30 days. By the end of the period, nearly 2,900 supporters collectively contributed over $630,000 – over twice its goal.
According to the Kickstarter, Doppler Labs plans to roll out the first of the Here Active systems in December 2015. The Verge gave the prototype a trial run, and you can read the report here. For more information, head to the official website.