The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent for an audio-based input system, which was meant to translate various noises, made on a laptop’s chassis. Due to the use of this invention, all these noises will be translated into actions, turning the computer into a large input device.
The patent No. 8,441,790 called “Electronic device housing an acoustic input device” describes a system in which the user input such as taps, scratches or other noises, are gathered by an acoustic transducers or microphones integrated into a device chassis. Afterwards, these noises will be processed while offering corresponding actions resulting from comparison with predefined waveform data.
The audio transducer or transducers record a sound wave performed by the user’s interaction with the electronic device and then translate each noise into actions. In fact, when employed with a microprocessor, the sound can be distinguished and interpreted to output the appropriate signal.
According to the patent description, “ the interpretation maybe based on the type of input, nature of the input, the location of the contact on housing, the amplitude of input, as well as other various factors. For example, a scratch may be “interpreted differently from a tap, and so forth”. In the same time, a tap on the housing near an output or input device may actuate the device, whereas a tap on another surface of the housing may be interpreted as a keystroke”.
The patent also calls for a sound vocabulary, which is employed in order to distinguish certain types of patterns and location of noise input. As Apple suggests in an example, three taps near a camera can turn the device on while another tap can snap a picture. Other forms of interaction with the sensitive device can turn on various other features. Users can use scratching or moving their fingers along the device surface can also be interpreted.
Another embodiment calls for a software-based solution that will ignore other external sounds. In this way, the sound of the DVD playing will not be registered as an input single. Apple also includes the hard drive or cooling pans in the same category.
Apple also mentions the fact that the invention can be used as a replacement for a physical keyboard with the sound of tapping on a computer housing being enough to generate the appropriate onscreen information. When it will be applied to a mobile phone, the patent invention can be used as a simple input gesture.
For now, it is unknown whether Apple will include the new audio-based system for any of its future devices despite the fact that the capacitive touch technology will make everything simpler and more precise than before.