Alphabet’s Wolverine project won’t give you adamantium claws or enhanced healing
But it will give you superhuman hearing
Alphabet’s X division isn’t new to wearables. It not only worked extensively on the genre-defining Google Glass but its life sciences wing, Verily, has developed some innovative products, including smart contact lenses and shoes, in the past. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s now working on a new wearable device that will give you superhuman hearing. The device, internally called Wolverine, has already gone through multiple prototypes, and it will let users “focus on one particular speaker in a group setting with overlapping conversations”.
According to a report from Insider, Alphabet’s X division started working on the Wolverine project back in 2018 to develop a wearable device that would offer speech segregation capabilities. Sources familiar with the matter have told the publication that over the last two years the team has come up with multiple prototypes of the in-ear device, which is “packed with sensors” and microphones. While the project started with the idea of providing speech segregation capabilities, Wolverine may not be limited to a single application if it becomes a successful business, the sources added.
The report states: “One recalled a meeting where a Wolverine team member emphasized that the project needed to go beyond speech segregation. Insider could not learn what the other applications might be.”
Insider further reveals that the Wolverine project is being spearheaded by Jason Rugulo, a former ARPA-E director who joined Alphabet’s X division in 2017. The team has reportedly pulled in other industry experts, including Raphael Michel, the founder of hearing-aid company Eargo, who joined the project as a business strategist.
Although Alphabet hasn’t confirmed the existence of the Wolverine project, an X spokesperson told Insider that it was working on an early-stage project that is “exploring the future of hearing.” However, the spokesperson didn’t reveal any further details of the project.