Jabra brings noise cancellation to its behind-the-neck earbuds

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Do you like the concept of Apple's BeatsX earbuds, but want something that's better at shutting out external noise and taking phone calls? Jabra might have your fix. It's expanding its Elite earbud line with the 65e, which brings active noise cance…
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Barclays analyst report suggests ‘AirPods 2’ with better noise cancelling coming in early 2019

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Barclays has released its latest analyst report. The analysts, who have a mixed track record of accuracy, indicate continued iPhone 8 and iPhone X ‘weakness’ is being partly offset by continued sales of iPhone 7. Most interestingly, the report says to expect new AirPods in early 2019 with noise cancelling features.

Due to the small form factor of AirPod earbuds, noise cancelling is very unlikely to rival bigger cans with active noise cancellation like the Beats Studio 3. However, Barclays suggests that there will be design changes and improvements over the current AirPods.



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Airplane Noise Can Be Reduced With a Simple Solution

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If you’re one of the many residents of the Boston area who likes to spend rare warm evenings out on the porch, you’re probably familiar with the interruptions that come with it: the scream of an airplane zipping overhead every few minutes, headed to or from Logan International Airport. Thanks to more precise navigation software, airplane noise has become concentrated over several routes like these around the country, with certain neighborhoods seeing plane after plane roar overhead all day.

After studying this problem around Boston, one Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor suggested a simple solution: just slow the planes down.

In a study jointly funded by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and MIT, aeronautics professor John Hansman found that slowing the speed of departing aircraft by just 30 knots (about 34 miles per hour) would significantly reduce noise heard below.

A community group mapped Boston Logan Airport flights departing to the northwest from 2013 (in green) and 2015 (in red), after the FAA began using new routes. Precision navigation concentrates planes over certain neighborhoods, creating new noise issues. (Data source: Massport) PHOTO: KENT JOHNSON
Flights departing Boston’s Logan airport from 2013 (green) and in 2015 (red), after the FAA began using new precision navigation software to determine routes. (Data source: Massport) Image Credit: Kent Johnson

For a typical Boeing 737, Hansman estimates the slowdown would add only about 30 seconds to its climb to 3 kilometers (10,000 feet), and burn roughly seven additional gallons of jet fuel.

Community efforts seem to suggest that it would be worth the time and slight increase in expense. Neighborhoods across the country are already fighting the routes brought on by precision software, so much so that Chicago has experimented with rotating runways and Phoenix has sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Yet there’s one factor that the MIT study doesn’t seem to have considered: the environment. Air travel is widely cited as one of the biggest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. Boston’s Logan airport alone sees an average of 16,500 departing flights monthly; if every plane experienced the same fuel increase Hansman expects for a 737, that would mean an extra 115,500 gallons of jet fuel burned every month. Going by U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA) estimates, that means a over 1100 additional tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere monthly — from one airport alone.

An FAA working group is currently evaluating the recommendations of the MIT study, and considering slowing departing jets from a speed of 250 to 220 knots (288 to 253 miles per hour). Certainly, there’s no need for millions of people to spend their lives waking up to the deafening roar of passing planes. Yet given that we already know climate change will have an outsize impact on future generations — even making air travel itself more difficult and expensive — here’s hoping aviation experts can find a way to strike a balance between quieter skies and a healthier planet.

The post Airplane Noise Can Be Reduced With a Simple Solution appeared first on Futurism.


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Next-gen AirPods will likely include noise cancellation features

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AirPods 2

A new research report from Barclays (via MacRumors) claims that Apple is hard at work on a next-gen pair of AirPods that will likely see the light of day sometime in 2019. Feature wise, the second iteration of AirPods will reportedly include noise cancellation features and the introduction of a new W2 chip. Incidentally, previous reports have suggested that the next iteration of AirPods will be water-resistant and will feature hands-free support for “Hey Siri.” As it stands now, AirPods users have to tap the headphones in order to call Siri into action.

While AirPods were initially scoffed at, the tiny accessory has proven to be quite a surprising success for Apple. Not only has demand for Apple’s advanced wireless earbuds remained strong since first launching in December of 2016, customer satisfaction is said to be in the 98% range.

In stark contrast, Apple’s recently released HomePod does not appear to be faring as well in the marketplace, with Barclays claiming that demand has been “underwhelming.” Arguably, that’s not much of a surprise given the HomePod’s relatively hefty $ 349 price point. While the HomePod may sound better than any other speaker in its price range, it’s not yet clear if everyday consumers actually care about premium sound quality when cheaper smart speaker alternatives exist. On a related note, a recent rumor claims that Apple is planning to release a more affordable version of the HomePod later this year.

As for Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup, Barclays believes that Apple will release three brand new iPhone models this coming September, including a more affordable 6.1-inch device with an edgeless LCD display. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it aligns perfectly with previous reports from Ming-Chi Kuo, largely regarded as the most accurate Apple analyst in the business.

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stars in new ‘Above the Noise’ Beats by Dre commercial

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"Doubt me. Distract me. Give me noise," New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady says in the new Beats by Dre ad. "Cause all I hear is, ‘it’s payback time.’"
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Sony WF-1000X Wireless Noise Canceling Earphones Review

Wireless audio has really come into a category of its own over the last two years or so. The ongoing trend of ditching the headphone jack on phones has, of course, spurred all manner of audio product manufacturers to get a move on. One of the newest form factors to hit the market is of truly wireless earphones. Bragi might have been amongst the first to release truly wireless hardware but it was Apple’s Earpods that, predictably, made the world listen. Long story short, here we have with us the Sony WF-1000X, the Japanese company’s first truly wireless headset. Follow along for our review. Design While the Bragi Dash takes the cake for being the most discrete truly wireless headset out there, the Sony WF-1000X comes fairly close too. Available in gold and black, the earphones are finished in a shiny but matte material. Look closely and you’ll observe that the front half of the earbud is transparent and has a metal band running under it. Sony has done a great job in creating an antenna design that is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing too. We observed antenna performance to be much better compared to some of the other truly wireless headsets out …
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Sony WH-1000XM2 Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

Walk down the business class aisle on any flight and I can guarantee it that you will spot a Bose headset. For good reason too. Bose pioneered, honed and expertly marketed their Quiet Comfort series of headphones as the de-facto standard for weary travelers looking for some quiet and the comfort of their favorite music. In 2016 though, Sony struck out from the blue and announced the MDR-1000X that handily beat Bose’s products and took the mantle of the best noise canceling headphone in the market. It sounded ruddy fantastic too. So when Sony announced a product that is supposed to be even better, It is obvious that we were excited to check out the Sony WH-1000XM2. Follow along for our review. Design The Sony WH-1000XM2 looks nigh identical to the model that it supersedes. Some materials have been updated following consumer feedback but by and large, the WH-1000XM2 haven’t touched the perfectly functional design of the 1000X. The 1000XM2 is a smart looking headset that would look equally at home in a business class lounge or while listening to some music at home. The design language is subdued and includes a metal band on top. The body is predominantly plastic to …
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Libratone’s sweat-proof Track+ neckbuds have adaptive noise canceling

Libratone has been one of the most aggressive audio companies in embracing alternatives to the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, and today it adds to its family of products with the new Track+ neckbuds. These are essentially the wireless version of the wired (via either Lightning or USB-C) Q Adapt earphones that the company already offers. The Track+ have the same basic shape and the same adjustable noise cancellation as the Q Adapt models. My experience with the USB-C Q Adapt has been highly positive, with a pleasingly warm sound and effortless comfort. If the Track+ can re-create those good things while ditching the connector, they would be quite an attractive option — and one without the ecosystem lock-in of having to choose between…

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YouTube’s problematic Content ID says white noise is copyrighted

A YouTube content creator recently found his video the subject of multiple content claims, meaning several people are trying to claim ownership of white noise. Sebastian Tomczak a.k.a “littlescale”, a music technologist based in Australia, told TorrentFreak he received several complaints on his video, which he created via a noise generator. My ten hour white noise video now has five copyright claims! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/dX9PCM1qGx — Sebastian Tomczak (@littlescale) January 4, 2018 The original video is a ten hour-long video of white noise; not too unusual by YouTube’s standards. The five claimants all feature white noise in some form or other.…

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New Airplane Design Uses Less Fuel, Reducing Noise and Air Pollution

The “Double Bubble”

An estimated 50 million Americans are taking to the skies this holiday season, battling crowded airports in order to enjoy time with their friends and family. However, while they can bring people closer together, commercial airplanes are widening the gap between humanity and our climate goals.

But a team of designers from Aurora Flight Sciences, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Pratt & Whitney think they have a way to change that.

In 2008, the team started working on a new design concept for commercial aircraft as part of NASA’s N+3 program. They call the new craft the “double-bubble” D8, and if it works in practice how it does on paper, it could dramatically reduce the noise, emissions, and fuel burn associated with commercial travel.

The primary difference between the D8 and other passenger aircraft — such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 — is the position of the engines. Instead of placing them beneath the wings, the designers have chosen to put the engines on top of the plane’s body near the tail. This  greatly reduces the plane’s drag and improves its fuel efficiency.

The main body of the D8, called the fuselage, is wider and more oval-shaped than a conventional passenger jet. This design allows the fuselage itself to generate some lift, project co-lead Alejandra Uranga, who is now an assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California (USC), told Scientific American. The D8’s design also includes a smaller, lighter tail and wings and a more aerodynamic nose.

Cleaner Skies

While electric ground transportation is growing in popularity, the aviation industry hasn’t made similar efforts to go green. Air travel currently accounts for two to three percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and within the next 10 years, that figure is expected to double. Some experts have even suggested avoiding air travel altogether in an effort to combat its current negative impact on the environment.

If adopted worldwide, the D8 could reduce fuel consumption — and in turn emissions — by up to 66 percent in the next 20 years. According to the team’s calculations, the D8 design requires 37 percent less fuel than typical passenger jets. It would also mean a 50 percent reduction in community noise levels, and an 87 percent reduction in landing and take-off cycle nitrogen oxide emissions.

However, the D8 also flies slower than other aircraft. Manufacturers will need to decide how the slower speed will play out economically, but given its environmental advantages, plane manufacturers might be willing to take a chance on this concept plane of the future.

The team has already built and tested an 11th-scale model of the D8 in a NASA wind tunnel, and next, they want to build and test a half-scale prototype. If the results of those tests are promising, the D8 could be hitting the skies in time for the 2035 holiday travel season.

The post New Airplane Design Uses Less Fuel, Reducing Noise and Air Pollution appeared first on Futurism.