ResearchVR Episode 32 – Augmented Hearing with Tom Emrich from Super Ventures

by ResearchVR • January 31st, 2017

This week on ResearchVR we dig deep into advanced hearing devices that go way beyond hearing aids. Our guest is a visionary in the field of Augmented Reality, Tom Emrich from Super Ventures.

Tom Emrich, a funding partner at Super Ventures, is the man bringing AR to reality through investment and community building. In Super Ventures he is focusing on augmenting all of our senses – not only vision.

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Augmented Reality is an exciting topic. With significant players such as Microsoft betting big on it, the technology is getting ready for mass market. However, we hear only about visual information augmentation. What about auditory information? Does anything happen there? As it turns out, this field is quite active. And it sounds like these types of gadgets are going to be the next input & output game changer for AR.

If you were to talk to a human in real life and he would ignore you, it feels awkward, like you did something wrong. And I think that’s where we are with our AR.

There are many concepts that augmented hearing is prompting us to think about. For one, let’s imagine new types of interfaces, such as VUI – Voice User Interface. At the moment, with Siri, Cortana, Alexa and others, it feels awkward, and therefore unpleasant. Contrary to other types of interfaces, VUI is more of a conversation than just a substitution for button pressing. Speaking, and therefore voice commands, require more flexibility of the system – both in understanding the input and providing an output. I want Siri to answer me just like I expect from another human. And if is cold or responds with the wrong emotion in its voice, it often sounds like sarcasm or punishment.

All in all, as Tom underlined, the world is a new computer. We need to create access to it – to see, to hear, to smell, to touch. Everything has to be connected. We are at the point where nodes of the network are there – HMDs for vision,”hearables”  for audio, gloves for haptics and so on – but the network itself is not there yet.

Learn more in Episode 32 – Augmented Hearing with Tom Emrich from Super Ventures. You can also subscribe this podcast via your favorite app via the subscription button below.

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