Adaptive Sound Technologies
Price: $29 U.S.
Novo is a personal audio accessory that is indisputably useful. Novo automatically boosts the sound playing through your headphones based on the noises in your surrounding environment. I’ve been using it for a few days with my iPhone and iPod and it is a marvel.
This device is a mere three-quarter inches wide and an inch and one-half long. There’s an audio cable at one end and an aux audio input port at the other. There no on-off switch and no software to download. Merely plug the Novo into your i iPhone or iPod or tablet. Then plug your earphones into the audio port at the other end. That’s pretty much it.
Start listening to music. Is someone running a vacuum cleaner in the next room? Novo senses the noise and automatically adjusts the quality and volume of the sound coming through your headphones or earbuds. Is a plane passing overhead, making it hard to hear a telephone conversation? Novo adapts its setting in seconds so you can hear clearly.
There’s a switch that enables the user to increase or decrease the sensitivity of the environmental sound sensor. Novo adapts in less time than it takes to write this sentence.
The Novo is powered by two No. 13 hearing aid batteries. You can buy 40 of these at Costco for $9. The batteries will last 200 hours or approximately six weeks, according to the manufacturer, Adaptive Sound Technologies (ASTI).
The battery compartment door on our prototype unit is flimsy and easily damaged. Mine is being held in place with a rubber band. ASTI says it will address this issue before the final product is released in January.
If you’re listening to music on your iPhone and a call comes in, Novo will interrupt the music until you end the call; then it will automatically resume.
ASTI says the product will ship in January but prototypes are available now for $29.
This is an accessory that actually works well. Highly recommended.
Our possible MyMac Review Rating is 9 out of 10. We will test a final unit once it’s released.
A bit more information on Novo’s physical controls:
The small switch toggles between Boost Mode and Reduce mode and basically increases or decreases the sensitivity. If you slide it one way you’re more likely to hear fellow employees talking to you or an ambulance approaching. Push the other way and it blocks those sounds better. The slider simply allows you to fine tune the sound.
In Boost Mode, Novo will increase your call volume when noises interfere so you can hear the person you are talking with loud and clear. For example, if you are outside on a phone call and passing traffic makes it difficult to understand the person on the call, Novo will boost your volume to make it easier to hear.
In Reduce Mode, you can enjoy listening to your favorite music in the office and if a workmate needs your attention and calls your name, Novo will reduce the volume of your music in real-time so you can hear the person trying to talk with you.
This mode is especially helpful when you are outside being active and need to be aware of your surroundings to keep alert and safe.