Apple is looking to advance the design of its bundled iPhone EarPods by potentially implanting an accelerometer into the earbud portion that could recognize voice activity, which in turn would activate and tune beamforming microphone arrays.
According to a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Apple is investigating an enhanced headphone device that can recognize a user’s voice, activates multiple on-board microphones, turns on a noise suppression system and directs beamforming mics toward a user’s head.
According to Apple’s “System and method of detecting a user’s voice activity using an accelerometer” the enhanced earbuds are loaded with on-board sensors, including an accelerometer and two microphones. These sensors, in tandem with a microphone array located along the headphone wire, form a noise-suppressing system much more advanced than the company’s EarPods product.
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