EE Assistant Professor Fred Jiang and EE Professor Peter Kinget knew that they wanted to collaborate on a project together. They sat down and Jiang started explaining that he had recently purchased noise cancelling headphones and noticed that when walking around outside, he couldn’t hear anything around him, including approaching vehicles while crossing intersections. While that might be a nice feature on an airplane or in a noisy coffee shop, this feature wasn’t necessarily the safest for walking commuters. Cognizant of this, he began to notice that many pedestrians were listening to music or using their smartphones while walking, which is a major safety problem.
Kinget then explained that based on one of his personal hobbies, bike riding, he noticed that it was difficult for bikers to know when cars were approaching – even more so when the rider has headphones on; and that street noise is drowned out with these types of headphones which has likely caused many accidents over the years.