Noise-canceling headphones are a gift from the heavens that make music better and traveling more bearable. They’re also sort of dangerous and a good way to get divorced if your spouse thinks you don’t listen. A new patent that was recently awarded to Amazon may just fix that last problem. What if your noise-canceling headphones could recognize your name when it’s said, turning down the volume so you could hear it? That’s Amazon’s idea.
The patent, discovered by CNET, is for headphones that automatically stop playing when they detect certain sounds. For commuters this would mean finally being able to listen to your headphones without missing out on sounds like the ding of your next stop, or simply being able to hear your name when someone is trying to get your attention.
Given Amazon’s success with Alexa, it isn’t a stretch to see them utilize a similar smart listening process in their headphones. In fact, one of the inventors listed on the patent, Benjamin Scott, worked on the Alexa Information team. Of course it does raise the question of how connected these smart headphones could be. Just imagine a future where punk kids are hacking your headphones to listen in on you.
That probably won’t be a problem for a while however. Just because a patent is awarded doesn’t mean it’s necessarily being used or being made. Amazon hasn’t announced any plans for such a device. As of right now it’s just a possibility sitting on Amazon’s shelf.