Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon in South Korea made a pair of glasses for deaf people who lack access to such potentially life-saving cues.
An array of seven microphones, mounted on the frame of the glasses, pinpoints the location of such sounds and relays that directional information to the wearer through a set of LEDs embedded inside the frame, the New Scientist reported.
The glasses will only flash alerts on sounds louder than a threshold level, which is defined by the wearer.
The prototype requires a user to carry a laptop around in a backpack to process the signal.
However, lead researcher Yang-Hann Kim has stressed that the device is a first iteration that will be miniaturised over the next few years.
The KAIST team presented the work at the InterNoise conference in New York City.