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Recently, MobileSyrup released their predictions for wearable technology (wearables). In it, their top two predictions are wearable tech comes into focus with AI and 2017 will be the year for hearables (smart ear buds). In April 2015, I sent this email to the author of Introducing Data Science: Hearing aides on the brink of a paradigm shift (an article from 2014):

I recently attended a startup event where a company (Sensaura) showcased a technology that can determine a person’s emotion using only their heartbeat. This seems like it would be a perfect tool for improving hearing aid satisfaction in real-time. Specifically, if a hearing aid had an integrated heartbeat sensor (ex: Valencell), this signal could be sent to a smart phone via bluetooth (or even cellphone, if low enough latency) along with current auditory conditions. From this information, it would be possible to use machine learning to obtain useful information between emotional states and environmental sound properties. Using his information, it is possible to progressively modify the hearing aid parameters (a sort of self-adjusting loop) and reduce negative emotional reactions of hearing aid use. A self-adjusting hearing aid.

It’s interesting to re-read the article and email with the perspective of the state of tech in 2017. This truly is an industry in change and it’s just starting right now! Two months after that email, Doppler Labs launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for a “smart” wireless earbud. Since since then, Doppler Labs raised a total of $50.1 million dollars and other companies have emerged. I’m putting the email out there in case it gives someone a cool idea for something in this space, or if someone want to talk about this exciting opportunity!

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