Browse Prior Art Database

Diurnal Sound Control for Personal Computers

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000106343D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-21
Document File: 4 page(s) / 144K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Appno, P: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Currently, IBM PC and laptop computers have the same level of sound come out of their speaker(s) regardless of the time of day. This could be an irritant for late night users in families with small children or for day users in families where one or more wage earners work night shifts. This could also be an irritant in "quiet" office environments.

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Diurnal Sound Control for Personal Computers

      Currently, IBM PC and laptop computers have the same level of
sound come out of their speaker(s) regardless of the time of day.
This could be an irritant for late night users in families with small
children or for day users in families where one or more wage earners
work night shifts.  This could also be an irritant in "quiet" office
environments.

      It is proposed that a programmable time setting be used to
diminish the normal audible responses of PCs and laptop computers.
This diurnal variation is shown in Fig. 1 for PC home users in
families with small children.  (When the term PC is used in this
article, it includes both PCs and laptop computers.)

      In Fig. 1, the PC time clock is monitored via an OS/2* thread
or periodic low level query.  When the time to reduce the sound level
is reached, (8 pm), the typical voltage to the speaker(s) of the PC
is reduced by a percentage, say 50%.  This reduction factor, as well
as the start/finish time of the sound reduction could be
programmable.  Thus, after 8 pm, the PC would make less BEEPing noise
and be more conducive to harmonious family relations.  Similarly,
after 8 am, the sound level would be restored to its normal level.

      This sound control would be useful for controlling the sound
emissions of computer games as well as the BEEPs emitted when an
error is committed during the use of programs.

      The times to begin and end the sound reduction could be set in
a menu.  The amount of sound reduction could also be set in that same
menu, Fig. 2.

      The motivation for this sound reduction is that the background
noise level is generally reduced at night.  So, there is less need
for a loud PC noise to get the user's attention.  What is important
in getting the user's attention is contrast.  So, a quieter sound at
night will get the user's attention just as effectively as a louder
PC sound during the daytime.

SINGLE-SHOT SOUND REDUCTION - The following single-shot command may
be useful especially for laptop users:

               REDUCE SOUND TO xxx% NOW FOR hours/minutes

      This command would give a "one-time" sound reduction for a
selectable amount of time.  It could be valuable for the case of a
laptop being temporarily moved to a sound sensitive environment.  The
amount of sound reduction could be set anywhere from 100% (normal
level) down to 0% (mute).  This REDUCE command could also be
beneficial to PC users, such as when the baby just went to sleep!
Alternately, hearing impaired users could use an INCREASE SOUND TO
yyy% NOW FOR hours/minutes.

      Window Selection of Sound Reduction - With windows being
important, the user interface could use clock faces to set the
start/stop times and a slider for the amount of sound reduction.  As
the user moved the slider, the speaker would play a test tone to let
the user hear what a particular sound level is like.

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