Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Amazon’s smart noise-cancellation switch could literally be a lifesaver

iheartmedia launches two new streaming services 28159403  businessman relaxing on train listening to music
stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo
There’s no product or even a product announcement yet, but a new Amazon patent that intelligently suspends noise cancellation could be a lifesaver.

Noise-canceling headphones can be a blessing when you want relief from a noise-laden background. The steady cacophony of trains, planes, and automobiles can be tiresome, especially if you’re trying to rest or concentrate. There are times, though, when this can put you in danger because, along with all that unwanted noise, warning sounds are also blocked. A recently published patent awarded to Amazon Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of, describes technology to suspend noise cancellation when specified sounds are detected, as reported by International Business Times.

Titled “Suspending Noise Cancellation Using Keyword Spotting,” the patent describes several ways in which the technology could be implemented. One common scenario could be the use of a person’s name. Noise-canceling headphones with keyword spotting technology, for example, could temporarily suspend or shut off noise suppression when someone calls your name. Other applications could be based on the sounds of bells or alarms, train station announcements, or a ringing phone or doorbell. You could also potentially program the device to hear someone say, “Excuse me” when trying to get your attention.

The patent also refers to the ability of the device to learn, or “refine,” noise-cancellation suspension based on interactions and actions that happen after the switch-off. For example, if you immediately switched noise-cancellation back on after a device-activated suspension because the incoming keyword or audio signal wasn’t correctly recognized, in theory, the system could learn from the mistake. Sirens and other audible alarms could be used to trigger the “off” switch as well as non-audio signals received from peripheral devices.

As the International Business Times mentioned, just because a company is awarded a patent doesn’t mean it’s going to produce a product that uses it. This technology, however, does have an interesting business case to offer by adding a much-needed level of protection to noise-cancellation devices.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
Should you buy Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 on Black Friday 2021?
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

Now that it's November, that can only mean one thing: It's time to start thinking about the best Black Friday deals! Yes, it does feel a bit early to be discussing it, given that Black Friday is still a few weeks away (we'll explain why below), but trust us -- it's not too early if you want to grab one of the best Black Friday headphone deals, and especially if you're looking for one of the best Bose Headphone deals, including Bose 700 deals.

But before we get into why you should consider the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 this holiday, check out the deals at these three major retailers:

Read more
Apple’s smart glasses could feature futuristic projection tech
biometric sensors security scanners in vehicles 49818131  close up of woman eye process scanning

Apple could one day release a pair of smart glasses that does away with small displays and instead projects images directly onto the wearer’s retina.

The so-called “retinal projector” technology is discussed in an Apple patent granted to the tech giant by the United States Trademark and Patent Office on Tuesday, October 26, Apple Insider reported.

Read more
Amazon’s Smart Thermostat lets Alexa choose the best temp
The Amazon Smart Thermostat installed on a wall.

Amazon is finally hopping on the smart thermostat train. Revealed at the company's annual fall conference, the Amazon Smart Thermostat, produced in collaboration with Honeywell, will sell for $60.

Compatible with most residential 24-volt HVAC systems, this Energy-Star certified thermostat will go toe-to-toe with the likes of Google Nest, Ecobee, and other competitors. But compared to the rest, Amazon's offering looks to be one of the cheapest smart thermostats on the market, period. And once you add in things like energy provider rebates and other savings tools, it becomes clear just how great of an investment the Amazon Smart Thermostat could be.

Read more