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Alphabet is reportedly working on a wearable that can pick out voices in a crowd

The project is codenamed "Wolverine"

Igor Bonifacic
Igor Bonifacic|@igorbonifacic|March 4, 2021 2:32 PM

Alphabet’s moonshot factory is reportedly developing a wearable device that could augment your hearing. According to a report from Insider, the company’s X lab is working on a project codenamed Wolverine. Since 2018, the team has produced multiple prototypes of an in-ear device that can assist the wearer with isolating a specific voice in a crowded room. Due to the number of microphones involved, early prototypes covered the entire ear but more recent ones have become smaller. The closest analog would be the AI-enhanced hearing aids a startup called Whisper announced last fall. Facebook and Oculus, as you can see in the video below, are publicly working on something similar as well. 

A spokesperson for X told Insider the company is “exploring the future of hearing,” but declined to offer details on the project. Whether Wolverine will see the light of day is an open question. The people Insider spoke to were adamant the project had to evolve to encompass more than one device and a single-use case before Alphabet committed to commercialization. And by the sounds of it, if there’s one thing Alphabet wants to avoid, it’s another Google Glass. The wearable debuted to a lot of fanfare in 2013 (who could forget the demo the company showed off at I/O 2012), but ultimately became relegated to an enterprise product after the general public turned against it.

Alphabet is reportedly working on a wearable that can pick out voices in a crowd