Students at the Royal College of Art in London have invented headsets that give the wearer superhuman sight and hearing.

The first prototype of the Eidos project is a mask that fits over the mouth, ears and nose and gives the wearer the ability to hear an isolated sound in a noisy environment.

A directional microphone captures audio, which is processed by software to neutralize background noise. The audio is then transmitted to the listener through headphones.

This allows the wearer to target a single person in a crowded room and be able to clearly hear the speaker’s words despite surrounding sounds.

"It creates the unique sensation of hearing someone talk right inside your head,” according to a video about the project.

Eidos maskThe second prototype mask is worn over the eyes, which contains a camera that captures video and sends it to a computer. Custom software processes the images and overlays the movement before playing it in real-time to the wearer.

The unique headset enables the wearer to see movement that would normally be undetectable. The resulting visual is similar to the effects of long-exposure photography.

"We are used to controlling the world around us to find the settings that suit us best. But while technology advances to aid this, our physical bodies remain the same,” the video says. “What if we had the same control over our senses? If we could adjust them in real time, what experiences would this make possible?”

These prototype masks attempt to answer such questions, and the students behind the Eidos project see many possible applications for their inventions.

The visual mask could be used to study sports techniques, while the auditory headset could prove useful for children with ADHD by filtering out distractions.

Watch the video below to learn more about Eidos' sensory augmentation equipment.

Related on MNN:

Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

You can have super hearing or vision, but you'll have to wear these weird masks
Student-designed sensory augmentation equipment allows you to isolate sounds in noisy environments and see movement that's normally undetectable.