AI headphones and clicky phone keys | The Vergecast

AI headphones and clicky phone keys | The Vergecast

Intro (00:00:00)

  • David Pierce introduces the episode and mentions he is about to finish watching the movie "Oppenheimer".
  • He explains that he has been trying to watch the movie for months but keeps getting interrupted.
  • Peacock's algorithm removed the movie from his "continue watching" row due to his lack of progress.
  • Pierce expresses his determination to finish the movie today and highlights the upcoming segments on active noise cancellation and iPhone keyboards.
  • He emphasizes the significance of keyboards and how they impact the way we interact with our devices.
  • The Verge team previously made a video about over-eared headphones with active noise cancellation.
  • The technology behind noise cancellation is more advanced than what is seen in some headphones.
  • The episode will delve into an interesting story related to active noise cancellation.
  • The episode will discuss iPhone keyboards and cases that add physical keyboards to iPhones.
  • Pierce mentions an upcoming mini-series on keyboards due to their fascination and the lack of discussion around them.
  • The episode will explore how the way we interact with our devices changes when we switch between voice, physical keyboards, and on-screen keyboards.
  • An interview with someone who is working on bringing back physical keyboards to iPhones will provide insights into the process, implications, and changes associated with this approach.

AI headphones and Semantic Hearing w/ Will Poor + Andru Marino (00:02:19)

  • Active noise cancellation (ANC) effectively blocks out predictable sounds like airplane engines or subway noise.
  • Apple's AirPods Pro and other devices use adaptive audio features that adjust noise cancellation based on the environment.
  • The University of Washington's Mobile Intelligence Lab has developed a prototype with advanced ANC capabilities, allowing users to selectively amplify or mute specific sounds in a noisy environment using AI.
  • The AI headphones use binaural microphones and a neural network to isolate and amplify target sounds while muting background noises.
  • Potential applications include enhancing safety and facilitating communication in noisy environments.
  • The team behind the AI headphones is working on refining the technology, improving sound quality, and transitioning to a consumer-ready product.
  • The Vergecast discusses AI-powered headphones that can recognize and isolate specific sounds without cloud processing or Bluetooth connection, using efficient machine learning models and purpose-built AI chips.
  • The goal is to develop a user-friendly, adaptive system that automatically adjusts based on the user's preferences and surroundings, eliminating the need for manual sound selection.
  • AI headphones are being developed to automatically learn and adapt to the user's preferences, using data from various sources to make decisions about what sounds to filter or amplify.
  • Safety is a critical consideration, as the AI system must reliably distinguish between important sounds and background noises.
  • The technology has the potential to benefit individuals with hearing aids, sound sensitivities, or those living in noisy environments, and can positively impact sleep and overall health by controlling the acoustic environment.

Clicks keyboard w/ Michael Fisher (00:28:07)

  • The iPhone popularized virtual on-screen keyboards, but some people missed the benefits of physical keyboards.
  • Klix, co-founded by Michael Fisher (Mr. Mobile), aims to revive the physical keyboard on iPhones, inspired by a 3D render shared by Kevin Michaluk (CrackBerry Kevin).
  • The Klix keyboard offers advantages over virtual keyboards, such as not taking up screen space and providing quick access to keyboard shortcuts.
  • The design of the Klix keyboard went through numerous revisions, with changes being made right up until the end, including swapping the shift and alt keys due to muscle memory issues.
  • The science behind keyboard design is fascinating and involves considerations like key spacing and materials.
  • The Clicky keyboard for iPhones doesn't require any app installation or special setup; it works natively with iOS.
  • The added screen real estate without the virtual keyboard is a significant advantage, particularly useful for typing in group chats and utilizing keyboard shortcuts.
  • Many old BlackBerry shortcuts still work on the iPhone with clicks, providing a nostalgic experience.

Microphones w/ Andru Marino (The Vergecast Hotline) (00:51:05)

  • Michael from Madison wants to record his parents sharing family stories for future generations.
  • The Rode Wireless Me, a wireless lapel microphone, and the ATR 2100X USB mic from Audio Technica, a versatile USB and XLR microphone, are recommended for this purpose.
  • For recording conversations between two people, two microphones are ideal, with budget-friendly options like the Fifine USB microphones or the more professional Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun microphone.
  • Shotgun microphones require direct positioning for optimal sound quality, while lapel mics are suitable for those not used to speaking into a microphone or who move around frequently.
  • The Audio-Technica mic offers a good balance between affordability and quality, while the Sennheiser MKE 600 provides the best sound but at a higher cost.
  • The Vergecast team recommends these microphones for their flexibility in different environments and encourages listeners to share their thoughts, feelings, questions, or other keyboards they want to see brought back to life.

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