Does hearing actually go first as you get older? For those who've always feared dead giveaways like hearing aids and bifocals, help is on the way. Perhaps taking a cue from Oakley's MP3-playing Thump, a company called Varibel is developing eyewear that hears.
It won't give provide bionic auditory powers, but it does promise vastly improved hearing through a device built directly into a pair of eyeglasses. Embedded over the length of each spectacle arm are four tiny microphones that transmit sounds from the front and simultaneously block background noise.
The result is "directional sensitivity"--sounds coming from the direction of the wearer's gaze are amplified while those from ambient surroundings are quieted. This helps make conversations clearer in noisy environments where standard hearing aids can often be thwarted by the din.
Charging is even simplier. The rechargeable batteries are hidden in the ends of the arms, so it's an easy matter of docking the ends of the frames into a special recharging stand overnight to juice up.
Based on technology developed at the Delft University of Technology, Varibel, which produced the "hearing glasses" in partnership with Philips, aims to showcase the invention at the upcoming SICEX 2008 organized by Singapore's Silver Industry Committee. Couple this with light-adaptive and no-line bifocal progressive lenses, and you might be able to fool some people after all.
(Source: Crave Asia)