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Choudhury comments on future of remote work in The Wall Street Journal


Joseph Park, Illinois ECE

Romit Roy Choudhury
Romit Roy Choudhury

With the COVID-19 pandemic turning remote work into the new norm, the laptop has become the key focus of work-from-home technology. However, this heavy reliance on the laptop has brought light to several significant issues ranging from sound quality to security and privacy. In a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, several experts came together to discuss what developments are and should be coming for the improvement of remote work. Illinois ECE Professor Romit Roy ChoudhuryW.J. "Jerry" Sanders III - Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Scholar in Electrical and Computer Engineering, is one of the experts who provided commentary on filtering background noise in remote work settings. 

"All sorts of audio issues arise with work-from-home use of laptops. Roommates quarreling, pets barking or just the hum of the city have been hard to suppress while laptop users are in video or audio conferences. However, help is on its way. Algorithms on laptops will soon be able to separate out background noises and do so fast enough that the disturbances get continuously filtered out before leaving the laptop. The same can be done at the receiver’s end: If Bob’s laptop cannot filter out its own background noise, his counterpart Alice could run the filtering, so her laptop speakers only play Bob’s clear voice.

Of course, random background noises are harder to eliminate than steady, familiar noises. But these filtering algorithms can retrain themselves to become better gatekeepers the next time around. Peering further down the audio road, it might even be possible for laptops to create sound bubbles around the user’s head. This means the laptop speakers would radiate the sound in a way that’s clearly audible around a user’s ears, while ensuring near-silence close by, say where the user’s roommate is reading." Choudhury is affiliated with the CSL.

Read the article from The Wall Street Journal here.