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Method for Establishing and Switching Between Modalities for Hearables

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248658D
Publication Date: 2016-Dec-22
Document File: 5 page(s) / 73K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Method for Establishing and Switching Between Modalities for Hearables and other Smart Devices on a Personal Area Network Hearables leverage the fact that humans innately communicate verbally making hearables a far more intuitive and less disruptive interface for computer than the small screen on a smartphone. However, the broad use of hearables is limited by humans’ inability to multiplex across multiple spoken streams. Almost no one is capable of carrying on two conversations at once. This makes hearables a terrible interface if you are already in the midst of a conversation.

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Method for Establishing and Switching Between Modalities for Hearables

Background

Hearables” are wireless headphones with built in microphones that are worn through-out the day – not just when listening to music or making phone calls. They typically communicate with hub computer system such as a smartphone which provide long-range wireless networking services. Hearables have both speakers and a microphone so they can present sound (e.g. music or spoken words) to the user as well as accept voice input. Using speakers and microphone in tandem, hearables can facilitate a phone conversation. With processing power provided by the wirelessly linked computer / smartphone hearables can provide more advanced audio abilities such as noise cancellation and speech amplification. Further, with the use of intelligent assistants (e.g. Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Alexia) hearables can be used to give voice commands to a computer or receive short text updates (e.g. reading a text or e-mail aloud to a user). Many believe that hearables will be the next wave of “wearables” after smartwatches.

Hearables leverage the fact that humans innately communicate verbally making hearables a far more intuitive and less disruptive interface for computer than the small screen on a smartphone. However, the broad use of hearables is limited by humans’ inability to multiplex across multiple spoken streams. Almost no one is capable of carrying on two conversations at once. This makes hearables a terrible interface if you are already in the midst of a conversation.

To solve this problem it is essential that hearables support different “modes” – such as “Full Interaction”, “Do Not Disturb”, “Phone Call”, “Hands Free”, and “Discrete” – and that the process of automated switching between these modes be swift and intuitive.

Related Work

Hearables are still in their very early adopter phase. They are usually envisioned as “super headphones” or “smartphone enabled hearing aides”. Examples:

• http://www.bragi.com/

• http://www.soundhawk.com/

• https://www.hereplus.me/

• http://www.nuheara.com/

We believe that the true potential of hearables as a major computing interface will be unlocked by the ability to establish and switch between modes.

Summary

Hearables should not be viewed as a standalone set of wireless headphones or a hearing aide. Instead, they should be thought of as part of a constellation of Personal Area Network (PAN) devices. It is assumed that a smartphone and a smartwatch are also included in this PAN. For each of these three PAN devices, hearables, smartwatch, and smartphone, there are input and output interfaces:

• Hearables:

o Input: Mic

o Output: Audio

• Smartwatch:

o Input: Screen Tap, Wrist Gesture, Mic (not in use when wearing hearables)

o Output: Glance, Haptics, Speaker

• Smartphone:

o Input: Touch, Mic (not in use when wearing hearables)

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o Output: Screen View, Speaker

To use hearables effectively, a framework of modality of usage must be established across a...