Future AirPods may adjust audio to help users hear hazards

Apple’s AirPods could automatically adjust its audio to make the wearer more aware of their surroundings and any potential dangers in the future, with Apple considering how its personal audio accessories will perform more safely in situations such as cycling on a bike. busy road.

Headsets and earphones like AirPods and AirPods Pro provide a stylish and convenient way to listen to music and podcasts on the go. However, personal audio devices can pose a risk to a person’s safety when used inappropriately, as they effectively prevent the user from being able to hear things in their surroundings that could potentially harm them.

Apple tried to solve this problem with the Transparency mode of the ANC system of its AirPods Pro, but it still depends on the user who turns it on in the first place to be effective.

In a patent issued Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office titled “Contextual Audio System,” Apple suggests that a system can be put in place to adjust audio playback of music or media in response to positional audio.

Apple offers a system in which the position of the earphones is used to adjust the audio output, using the detection of whether an earphone is partially inserted in one ear, both are or are not in use. When adjusting the audio to where it is detected to be used, the audio can be changed in each specific earpiece to match what the system deems necessary.

These adjustments can include both reducing the audio output from a headset and completely removing the sound.

Apple aly performs automatic ear detection in its AirPods, adjusting and pausing playback based on how a user puts on or takes off each earbud. This means that the original patent claims are effectively used by Apple, although the latest are not currently.

A cyclist wearing headphones would need more environmental awareness.

The subsequent claims add the suggestion to configure the audio according to what the user can do, as well as the location of the user himself. For example, by sensing the use of a cycling app and the user’s position on a road, the system can adjust the audio to allow more environmental sounds to be heard.

This could also be applied to external sensing devices, such as an Apple or, as the patent suggests, a mat coupled with positional data on user balance, weight distribution or urre. during an exercise routine like yoga.

Apple further proposes that location data can be classified as areas where a person should be alert, for example on a road, and then using that context, automatically adjust the audio. The movement of a sensing device, again like an Apple, could also offer more contextual clues about the need to be alert.

For example, a user might be detected as moving along a road, but if the movement of an Apple does not match cycling, running, or driving, while the person is moving fast, it is possible that she is a passenger in a vehicle. , and therefore do not necessarily need to be fully aware of the environment.

The patent mentions monitoring the balance of a user doing yoga.

The patent mentions monitoring the balance of a user doing yoga.

The patent lists its inventors as Kathleen A. Bergeron and Jay K. Blahnik, and was filed on March 21, 2019.

Apple files many patent applications every week, but while the existence of a patent indicates areas of interest to Apple’s research and development efforts, they do not guarantee the existence of a future product or service using the concepts described.

Patents have also explored applications without earbuds, such as headphones that can detect whether they have been placed correctly on the head or from back to front. Dual-mode headphones were also suggested, which could be converted to impromptu speakerphone.

There was also the suggestion of a VR or AR headset that had removable audio elements, allowing users to switch between included audio and their own audio sources. This could potentially be used by Apple Glass, the company’s long-standing smart glasses that are reportedly still in development.

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