Microsoft can filter out the sound of you eating potato chips on a conference call

The software giant's trained artificial intelligence software to identify background noise that isn't your voice. Snackers, rejoice.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read
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Just in time for us all to be working from home because of the pandemic coronavirus, Microsoft's built new technology for its Teams software that can identify your voice and filter out any other sounds. That could be a leaf blower, a dog barking or even, yes, you rustling through a bag of potato chips.

Microsoft demonstrated the technology to journalists earlier this week by having Robert Aichner, a principal program manager on Microsoft's communications division, move his hand around in a bag of chips with the tool turned on. As promised, the technology removed noise of the bag while he still spoke. 

"With the power of AI, Teams can remove that background noise and you can understand me very clearly," he said. Microsoft calls it "real-time noise suppression."

Microsoft's move to make its Teams software more distraction-friendly comes as Teams is seeing a surge in usage from people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. is just the latest from the software giant aimed at cutting down on the biggest gripes people have about virtual meetings. Microsoft's also introduced technology to blur out the background of a video chat so people only see you, and it offers live captioning as well.

Watch this: Microsoft's AI can filter out background noise from your conference call

Microsoft's been working on voice chat issues for a while. Last year, the company showed off how it can remove background audio from a pre-recorded video. It's also found ways to allow up to 50 people to video chat at the same time through its more consumer-y Skype chat app.

Microsoft said the new feature removing background noise in Teams will be available later this year.