New App Warns People Who Wear Headphones If They’re Getting Too Close to a Car

It's expected to be available to download on Android devices next month

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A new app is designed to send signals about potential hazards to people who wear headphones walking around on the street so that they don’t get hit by a car.

MIT Technology Review reports that a startup called One Llama plans to release the app Audio Aware, which is designed to alert Android smartphone users of sounds such as cars coming to a halt and sirens. While the program will come pre-programmed with the most common potentially hazardous sounds, users will be able to add others, too.

How does it work? MIT Technology Review explains via Audio Aware co-founder David Tcheng, a research scientist at Illinois Informatics Institute:

“It will work by listening through your smartphone’s microphone, Tcheng says, constantly comparing what it hears to stored templates of alert sounds it needs to recognize. When a sufficient match, such as a car horn, is detected, it will cancel any audio you’re hearing and pipe in an amplified version of the sound it’s picking up, or perhaps a cartoon-like version of that sound that is easier to recognize.”

This kind of app may prove particularly useful to people who are hard of hearing. Until it comes out, turn the volume of your music down just a smidge.