Apple is working to launch a new type of iPhone earbuds that can perform actions based on the sound of your voice.
Entitled ‘System and method of detecting a user’s voice activity using an accelerometer’, Apple’s patent describes in-ear headphones that have built-in accelerometer and react to the user’s voice!
According to Apple’s “System and method of detecting a user’s voice activity using an accelerometer” the enhanced earbuds feature on-board sensors, including an accelerometer and two microphones. These sensors work in tandem with a microphone array located along the headphone wire to form a noise-suppressing system which will be much more advanced than the company’s EarPods product.
The patent was published on Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Embodiments of how it could be used would be that the earbuds will automatically suppress the noise when it detects your voice. In addition, the system can be used to filter out any background noise, and just focus on the sound of your voice.
It’s possible that the system could be used in conjunction with Siri to make the virtual assistant much more responsive and accurate.
According to the patent itself, the system is based on “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.”