Disney Lets You Control Your Phone By The Sounds It Produces
One field that was once considered almost not useful – human computer interaction – has now become the bane of companies’ competitive existence. With nails being turned into track pads and devices becoming more receptive to gestures, smartphones are seeing a rise in the experimentation and interactivity of the user.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have come up with a number of accessories that manipulate sound coming from a smartphone’s speaker to serve as an external controller.
The cheap plastic accessories, called Acoustruments, divert an ultrasonic sound from a smartphone’s speaker back to its own microphone. However, there are obstacles in between the speaker and mic which could change or vary the pitch and intensity of the sound.
An accompanying app with the device can tell you exactly what sound is being produced, and by comparing that to what the microphone hears, the Acoustrement can determine how a user is interacting with the device.
The accessory could be as simple as a button that serves as a snooze button, or a wheel that changes settings like a dial, or a full-on smartphone case that knows when the device is sitting on a table, being held, or even squeezed like a camera.
As there is negligible power being utilized from the device (due to the constant ultrasonic sound being made), this extra feature does not really affect the smartphone’s battery life. Gizmodo predicts that in the future, this technology could be implemented directly into a device’s housing, adding more buttons or ways to interact with a smartphone, without any negative consequences.