Monday March 06, 2017

Doppler Labs is Suing Bose for Allegedly Stealing its Sound Technology

Doppler Labs is suing Bose for tricking it into revealing their patented technology during investment meetings. During the three meetings with Doppler Labs, Bose executives got the startup to divulge how their augmented sound technology worked. Then Bose allegedly incorporated this technology into their own headphones without an agreement with Doppler Labs.

The headphones are like hearing aids, but for example they can alter the sound level of your friend sitting close to you in a noisy bar. They can boost his particular voice so that you can hear him over everyone else. The next step is to take the technology and incorporate a computer with it to create augmented reality within a game world or movie that you're watching in VR.

Doppler Labs doesn't want to make their own hardware long term. They want to sell their product license to other companies. So in the end they may end up selling Bose a license to use their technology as they are in talks with other headphone manufacturers. Doppler Labs had a Kickstarter campaign and was backed by one of the Bose executives who was able to receive one of the first devices that was created.

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Like the Here One آ— and their predecessor, the non-music-playing Here Active Listening آ— the Hearphones allow you to amplify, reduce, and generally warp real-world sounds. If you were in a noisy bar, for instance, you could use them to raise the volume of nearby friends’ voices.

Both devices are similar to hearing aids, but more customizable and streamlined through a companion app. However, this kind of augmented audio tech is seen by some as paving the way for headphones that serve as in-ear computers as much as simple audio products. These could ostensibly work in tandem with the kind of augmented reality headsets being pursued by Microsoft, Magic Leap, and other tech firms. Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed his interest in AR on multiple occasions as well. Point being, it is a market where various headphones companies are expected to play in the coming years.