As VR entertainment becomes more and more involved, input devices for the tech also expands from the usual two controllers. Some even require voice input. But when you’re in a situation where you need to use a voice command in a public space, you need a microphone that not only filters out ambient noise, but also muffles yours so that no one else hears what you’re saying to the mic. And the Mutalk is made for that specific – and questionable – situation.
Unveiled during CES 2023, the Mutalk is made by a company called Shiftall, a Panasonic subsidiary founded in 2018. The item itself is a Bluetooth microphone and it kind of looks like the average VR headset to match the look, sort of. As mentioned earlier, the idea is that the soundproof mic doesn’t pick up ambient noise which may trigger erroneous voice commands. And since it completely covers your mouth, your voice will also sound muffled by those around you, for a questionable degree of privacy.
While it was made for VR applications primarily, the Mutalk can be used in most situations that require a microphone. It has a battery life of eight hours, and can also connect to Windows, Android or iOS.
Which is all well and good, and one can argue that the Mutalk can be used in more situations than just a VR demo in a public space. But it looks like it will get uncomfortable very fast, despite the harness that it comes with. And it will be especially redundant if you’re also wearing a gaming headset to be used with your VR headset. Perhaps slightly more practical would be when you’re in a voice or video call in a cafe or some other public space, but you only want those in the call to hear what you have to say.
With the way Mutalk looks and is used, this almost looks like a gag item among all the other things that get unveiled during CES. But this is a real product that will start shipping in the US in summer, and for around US$200 (~RM873), according to Digital Trends. No word on availability elsewhere or their prices yet.