Sunday, February 21, 2016

Oh, patents! AR buds 4 u

Copyrights © Françoise Herrmann

Uh-huh… that’s a cool pair of Augmented Reality (AR) earbuds brought to you by Doppler Labs Inc.!

Ok, what if you could choose the sounds you wanted to hear? Rather than increasing the volume of sound like a hearing aid, or shutting off sound like ear plugs, what if you could choose which sounds you wanted to hear, and also tweak them? 

So for example, when you are in an airplane, what if you could simply shut off just the roar of the engine, and keep the conversation? Likewise, but augmented, what if you were at a sports event and you wanted to hear a feed of sportscaster comments, without the roar of the crowd? 

You would need a device that not only has the capacity to both selectively cancel out certain ambient sounds and amplify certain others, but also a capacity to feed in sound from another location, that superimposes the on-location ambient sounds (i.e.; the sportscaster’s voice broadcasted via radio or TV during a sports event), thus augmenting the ambient sound possibilities, while adjusting the loudness of ambient sound or selectively turning down certain ambient sounds.

In a nutshell, the AR sound system does just that. The AR sound system includes the Cloud, mobile or desktop, Bluetooth®-enabled, devices accessing the Cloud, equipped with a display interface and app software, for connection and communication with the Bluetooth®-enabled earbuds. 

In turn, the earbud housing is equipped with a microphone and speaker, a battery;  amplifying, processing, conversion, communication and storage means, allowing for ambient sound, as well location parameters to be processed according to personal app parameters and for the processed sounds and app-controlled feeds to enter the ear-canal.

In turn, the mobile device then also has the capacity to match ambient sound and location parameters with other sorts of server-based information which might be superimposed on the ambient sound. Examples of the superimposed feeds include, but are not limited to, sportscasters reporting on a sports event, specific advertisements targeting a mall location, and all sorts of sound effects such as Reverb which transforms the sounds of one room into concert hall sounds.   

If you are a musician, or in the Armed forces, you have probably already used this sort of filtering and feed AR sound technology. Only now, this technology is called “Here” Active Listening earbuds. The Here earbuds, equipped with an on-board CPU, are wireless, app- and cloud-based, GPS & Bluetooth®-enabled, affordable, and soon to be released for everyone else to use! That is, providing that you have signed the waiting list (and you are one of the lucky first 10,000), or that you plan on attending the Coachella Music and Arts Festival on one of two week-ends in April, 2016.

Doppler Labs Inc has filed the following 5 utility patents and 2 design patents, in connection with this invention:

US2015382106 (A1) ― 2015-12-31 - Real-time combination of ambient audio and a secondary audio source
US2015373474 (A1) ― 2015-12-24 - Augmented reality sound system
US2015355880 (A1) ― 2015-12-10 - Active acoustic filter with automatic selection of filter parameters based on ambient sound
US2015312677 (A1) ― 2015-10-29 - Active acoustic filter with location-based filter characteristics
US2015312671 (A1) ― 2015-10-29 - Passive acoustical filters with filled expansion chamber
USD733102 (S1) ― 2015-06-30 - Ear bud
USD725082 (S1) ― 2015-03-24 - Ear bud

 The abstract for the AR filtering system disclosed in US2015355880 titled Active acoustic filter with automatic selection of filter parameters based on ambient sound is the following:
There is disclosed active acoustic filter systems and methods. A processor is disposed within a housing configured to interface with a user's ear. A memory stores data defining one or more locations and a respective set of location-based processing parameters associated with each of the one or more locations. A personal computing device external to the housing is coupled to the processor via a first wireless communications link. The personal computing device determines a current location of the active acoustic filter system. The processor generates digitized processed sound by processing digitized ambient sound in accordance with a set of location-based processing parameters retrieved from the memory, the retrieved set of location-based processing parameters associated with the current location of the active acoustic filter system as determined by the personal computing device. [Abstract US2015355880]

An image of the earbud design found in the design patent USD733102, and an image of the marketed product, are included below:



Doppler Labs Inc used their favorite musicians to try out the buds. If you are into music, check out the Pioneers section of the Here website to see what AR concert venues might look like, and to hear what the pros say about these cool new AR buds!

Coachella Music and Arts Festival (April 15-17, 2016 and April 22-24, 2016)
Here Active Listening Earbuds

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