Apple Applies For Patent On Ambient Noise Sensor For Adjusting Ringtone Volume, Audio Jack Cleaning Device

A new patent has been released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office has released a new patent application filed by Apple showing that they are considering using an ambient sound sensor in the iPhone to automatically adjust its ringer volume.

The patent points out that if a person turns up the ringer volume on their iPhone because they are in a loud environment, there is a chance that they may move into a quieter environment where a loud ringtone might be disruptive.

“For instance, a user who adjusts the volume of a mobile phone ring tone for a loud environment may later move to a quieter environment, where the loud ring will be disruptive,” the filing explains. “Similarly, powering up a laptop computer in a quiet lecture hall or home may result in an inappropriately loud and disruptive boot sound. Alternatively, a volume level which is optimized for a quiet environment may not be detectable if the associated device is moved to a louder environment, which can result in a missed audio signal.”

To solve this issue, they are suggesting the use of a sound sensor to test for levels of ambient noise and change the ringtone’s volume to fit the noise level, in the same way an ambient light sensor detects light levels so it can automatically adjust the screen’s brightness.

“For example, for a device playing music, the system may take samples from the sound sensor between songs, or between words in a song, to determine the ambient noise in a surrounding room,”Apple said. “If the system detects that the room is loud, it may raise the device output volume. Alternatively, if the room is quiet, the system may lower the device output volume.”

They also mention the same technology being used in other devices like a notebook computer to quieten it’s start-up chime.

A second patent released at the same time outlines a device for cleaning audio jacks that have been plugged with debris. One method would be to make a hollow plug that fits into the jack through which compressed air can be released with enough space around the sides to allow the debris to be released.

“A small hose or other conduit can be applied to the opening through which air or compressed air can be applied,” Apple said. “In this manner, the opening may also include apparatus to temporarily secure the conduit to the adaptor plug, in order to minimize the amount of applied air that might otherwise leak out of the adaptor during the cleaning process. A consumer could place the adaptor plug in the jack, couple the conduit to the plug, and then apply compressed air through the conduit to clean the jack.”

Another way it mentions would be to make an adaptor plug that can rotate freely through the application of compressed air.

[via Apple Insider]

View the comments on the forum…