Following a stream of incidents where teenagers or cyclists have been hit by a car or truck because they were listening to music with headphones on, London based company Essency has released Awareness! The Headphone App.
The philosophy behind the app is to allow users to listen to music, whilst remaining street safe and street smart. When listening to music (at any desired volume) a user will be able to hear important sounds, like a siren, shout or directed conversation. The application utilizes the inbuilt microphone on the iPhone and iPod Touch to record outside sounds and by recognizing the street level sound it will then “bleed” all louder noises through the headphones.
At first you might think that the application could be potentially annoying always filtering in nearby conversations and unnecessary street sounds, but the user does have the option to manually adjust the microphone level and thus filter the pitch of sounds being heard through the headphones. The app allows control what types of sounds you wish to be interrupted by, so you can hear a car horn immediately or train platform announcements without having to remove their headphones, and even through the loudest music levels.