Apple proposes earbuds that react to your voice

A freshly published patent filing points to more advanced earbuds that can turn on noise suppression and other features in response to your voice.

apple-earbuds-voice-detection.jpg
Apple/USPTO
Your iPhone earbuds of the future may be able to perform certain tricks based on the sound of your voice.

Published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent filing dubbed "System and method of detecting a user's voice activity using an accelerometer" describes earbuds that can recognize and react to your voice via a built-in accelerometer.

With the help of on-board sensors, a microphone array would pick up your voice. In response, the mics would be directed toward your voice at the same time a noise-suppression system is activated. Using beam-forming technology, the overall system would filter out any background noise and focus just on the sound of your voice.

As Apple describes it in patentese:

"A method of detecting a user's voice activity in a mobile device is described herein. The method starts with a voice activity detector (VAD) generating a VAD output based on acoustic signals received from microphones included in the mobile device and data output by an inertial sensor that is included in an earphone portion of the mobile device. The inertial sensor may detect vibration of the user's vocal chords modulated by the user's vocal tract based on vibrations in bones and tissue of the user's head. A noise suppressor may then receive the acoustic signals from the microphones and the VAD output and suppress the noise included in the acoustic signals received from the microphones based on the VAD output."

(Via AppleInsider)

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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