Media Lab Europe
Human Connectedness research group

Transparent Headphones

microphone-equipped headphones for real-time audio alteration

Florian 'Floyd' Mueller, Matthew Karau

Transparent Headphones consist of a pair of headphones with a high-quality microphone attached to the outside of each phone, and a computer that processes the audio signal and sends it to these headphones. This platform enables experiments in Transparent Hearing, including real-time audio alteration, multi-modal sensory integration, and collaborative listening experiences.

Scenarios explored thus far with Transparent Headphones:

  • Headphones with a Sense: Headphones that stop the music if somebody wants to talk to you and patch the person's speech through.

  • Pseudophone: Headphones that allow you to hear in your right ear what you normally hear in your left ear and vice versa.

  • I Hear What You Hear: Two sets of headphones that allow you to hear what someone else hears, and vice versa, effectively putting you "into somebody else's head" and enabling you to be constantly connected to somebody else's audio environment.

    Transparent Headphones originated as a project in Sile O'Modhrain's Fall 2001 course "A Dialogue of the Senses".

    Publications and Links

  • Florian Mueller and Matthew Karau, Transparent Hearing, CHI 2002 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Minneapolis, 20 - 25 April 2002. (PDF)