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AirPods? Meh. Here One Is the Future

Imagine sitting down in an airplane, and tuning out the chatter of other passengers and the hum of the plane without blasting music into your ears. That's just a part of the life you could experience with Doppler Labs' Here One wireless earbuds ($299, available for pre-order, shipping this holiday season).

Intelligent filters for your own ears, Here One earbuds work with an app on your phone (they support Android and iPhone) to let you selectively remove the noises you don't want to hear and enhance those you need. This way, if I'm out at a loud bar after work with my coworkers, I could reduce the music coming in from the venue's speakers and amplify the conversations around me.

MORE: Best Noise Cancelling Headphones and Earbuds

Think about the Here One as an augmented reality device made for your ears. Of course, you can use the Here One earbuds (available in black and white) to stream music and podcasts, but that's just a fraction of what they offer.

Here One earbuds come with specific enhancement presets, which Vulture's Seth Porges tested at this summer's Panorama Music festival. The "Carnegie Hall" filter "gave a fuller feel" to the Arcade Fire's set, and as someone who also attended that set, I can say it needed that adjustment.

An interesting and somewhat invasive use of the Here One earbuds is their ability to hear conversations that you're not intended to join in on. On a bus, Porges discovered he could clearly hear "hushed conversations" of strangers when cranked up the frequencies related to human speech and muted the low-end rumbles of the vehicle.

The Here One could also play the role of translator one day, as Wired's David Pierce reported that during a demo, the earbuds translated a joke told to him in Spanish to English for his ears. This feature isn't mentioned on the Here One pre-order page, so it's possibly still in development, as a long pause preceded the translation of the joke's punchline.

Doppler Labs CEO Noah Kraft told Pierce that its vision is that "you land at Charles De Gaulle. You have your Here buds with you—maybe we’re on Here Two by then—and you’re like wow, I don’t speak French. I’m going to go to the here kiosk and I’m going to buy a hard drive that only has the French language on it."

This language translation isn't here yet, but the Here One headphones provide an amazing view of what the future may hold.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.