Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Are You Ready For Smart Headphones?

smart earbuds image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Headphones are a pretty mundane piece of audio gear, which is precisely why it's time to smarten them up a bit. I don't know about you, but one of the things about phones that always bothers me is when the the cups get mixed up where the right and left one are reversed. Thanks to a bit of technology, that may not be a problem that much longer.

Researchers at the Igarashi Design Interface Project recently developed a set of "universal headphones" that are so smart that they can do the following:
  • Sense when you've placed an earbud or headphone on the wrong ear, then change the channels to accomodate. 
  • Sense when two people are sharing earbuds and change the channels so each earbud contains both the left and right channels (and even allow each listener to hear different tracks at the same time).
  • Automatically pause and resume play depending if the phones are on or off your ears.
The way the development team came up with right/left ear sensing is by attaching a proximity sensor to one of the earpieces to measure the distance from the ear. When placed in the right ear, the sensor detects the ear behind it. If it's then placed in the left ear, it knows that the distance has changed and then signals a on-board processor to switch channels.

It's so cool when old technology like speakers, mics and headphones get a new technological twist. Although these updates aren't available in a commercial product yet, expect to see them soon.

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1 comment:

VIOZ said...

Do they also give me a mild intermittent electric shock so I can close and open my eyes repeatedly? Because blinking is so damn hard!

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