Attention, Gamers: Doritos Is Using AI to Cancel Chip-Crunch Noise

Doritos Silent, a free new PC software, blocks the sound of your snack.

November 29, 2023

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Doritos Silent Launch Still 2

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Frito-Lay

Photo courtesy of Frito-Lay

For gamers who love chips — which is to say, broadly, gamers — one of the most annoying things is the concentration-snapping sound of the crunch, especially the sound in headphones of other gamers crunching. The distracting noise can turn gamers’ love of the chip into a love-hate thing. Doritos has deployed AI software to come up with a solution.

Doritos Silent, as the new feature is known, is a downloadable noise-cancelling technology that, when activated, detects and silences the specific sounds of eating Doritos so you don’t transmit them through your microphone and distract other players.

When Doritos “crunch cancellation” is on, you can still talk with your friends — that sound goes through, but, the brand says, “no one will be able to hear you crunch.”

How big a demand for this is there? Doritos’ research indicates that 30 percent of U.S. gamers say other people crunching distracts them and keeps them from playing their best; 46 percent of U.K. gamers dislike hearing other people eat; and 68 and 64 percent, respectively, of gamers in Portugal and Spain, say chips are the all-time worst noise-makers when other people are eating while they’re playing a game.

Yet gamers love Doritos. The brand’s research shows “85 percent of gamers consistently choose Doritos as their snack of choice.”

“The connection between Doritos fans and the gaming community is undeniable,” Fernando Kahane, global marketing head at Doritos parent company PepsiCo, says in a news release. “Both boldly and unapologetically embrace their individual flavors. ‘Doritos Silent’ recognizes this bond and demonstrates the brand’s continued commitment to innovation and elevating the experience for gamers who choose Doritos.”

The program, which is free to download, is currently available only for Windows PC. (Sorry, Mac users, but Doritos says that, at some point in the future, it may expand to other devices and consoles.) It can be used with any software or application that uses a microphone — Discord, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, whatever — not only while playing video games, but also in meetings.

To design its “crunch cancellation” technology, Doritos partnered with Brooklyn, New York-based interactive design studio Smooth Technology, which developed the software over six months. The development team used artificial intelligence and machine learning to train its software to recognize the precise sounds involved in a Doritos crunch, analyzing more than 5,000 different crunch sounds along the way. Once the software singles out and recognizes a crunch sound, it filters it out before it is transmitted through your microphone, in effect canceling the crunch and allowing you to silently enjoy your snack.

“Working with Doritos to create this cutting-edge technology has been an incredible journey,” Dylan Fashbaugh, the lead developer at Smooth Technology, says in a statement. “We all know that gamers love Doritos, but that unmistakable crunch can often disrupt those intense gaming moments. With ‘Doritos Silent,’ we've worked to ensure gamers can enjoy the crunch of Doritos without disturbing their fellow players, making for a better gaming experience.”

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