Cypher Noise Canceling Tech Could Change How We Talk

LAS VEGAS - Let’s face it: Noise canceling software is not the sexiest product to sell. But an effective solution could make our lives so much quieter. Cypher is a system that studies soundwaves for patterns it recognizes as human speech, and eliminates other sounds. In a brief demo here at CTIA, I found the technology impressively accurate.

In the noisy convention hall, I made a call to the Samsung Galaxy S3 that Cypher was using for the demonstration. When we initially connected, the rep did not turn on Cypher’s technology, and the call was noisy as expected. After he turned the software on (and did not speak for awhile), the call went so quiet that I thought I had gotten disconnected. As he continued to speak again, I could mostly hear only his voice.

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If you want to hear for yourself, Cypher has examples on its site demonstrating the software's capability. The company’s method is different from traditional noise canceling programs that either use phase inversion or beam forming. The former makes use of two sound clips, but inverts one and removes that from the original. Beam forming is a more common method these days that uses two mics on a device and only letting through sound that is heard through both sources.

What Cypher does is analyze the sounds it receives and compares it against what the company’s research has determined to be the sound of people talking. It only lets the sound of speech through, filtering out everything else. Based on Cypher’s own tests (using third-party standards), it reduced noise 2.2 times more than Samsung smartphones and upwards of 6 times more than HTC and Apple devices. 

An added benefit of improved noise filtering technology is more accurate voice recognition. This means that voice control programs such as Siri, Google Now and Cortana could get better at understanding what you're saying. Cypher’s speaking to potential partners, such as chip makers and smartphone manufacturers, to get its software integrated into upcoming smartphones and devices.

Staff Writer Cherlynn Low does not like loud noises or crowds. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide on Facebook.

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