aural augmented reality

I’m sitting in a cafe and I hear that Phil Collins hit “I can hear it coming on the edge of night” or whatever the title is. That song bugs me. And it strikes me that it’s possible to selectively remove it from my existence.

Picture if you will a noise cancellation headset with a dynamic perspective on what noise is. Rather than identifying background sound as noise, it identifies a constantly changing (but well known) stream of audio signal as noise. The constantly changing audio is none other than a recording of a song which you hate.

Hated songs are identified via audio fingerprinting, like Shazam. You allow your Shazam-like live audio fingerprinting system to be on constantly, so that any time a hated song appears in your audio environment, the software recognizes it. The software activates the Imaginary Dynamic Noise Cancellation (IDNC) controller. The IDNC switches on your noise cancellation headset using the hated song previously identified as the target. Henceforth to the end of the song, that source is filtered from your reality.

*Wham*! Or more precisely, *no* Wham any more, ever, if you don’t dig them. They’d be snipped out of reality.

6 thoughts on “aural augmented reality

  1. i’ve had the same fantasy. i’ve also imagined retrofitting entire buildings with noise cancelling contact speakers on the windows, that would basically churn out inverse waves of those happening outside (did i mention that USC annenberg is right next to the football stadium where the marching band rehearses daily?)

    of course, the most elegant answer would be to rewire your brain to screen out a blacklist of sounds/songs.

    1. What a luxury this would be.

      When I lived in a heavily Dominican neighborhood the pounding oompa bass drove me up the wall.

      I guess it’s not augmented reality so much as selective reality.


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