Apple AirPods could one day warn wearers of approaching traffic and hazards by automatically adjusting the audio to make the users more aware of their surroundings.
It is described as a “contextual audio system,” where sensors in each earbud can be used to pick up potential hazards and then lowering or cutting off the audio in one or both ear, depending on the location of the threat.
Apple uses the example of a cyclist requiring special awareness when out riding if a car or another cyclist is about to pass, for example. It would also be useful when people were out walking, while traffic passes either side of them.
“This may permit a user to hear traffic while still listening to audio from the wearable audio device, for example,” the patent reads. “Audio to the left ear may be stopped, muted, or lowered as people typically walk with their left side toward the road.”
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This wouldn’t be too much of a stretch considering the existing AirPods uses sensors to determine when the earbuds are inserted or removed from the ears, pausing the audio. Elsewhere the patent could also be used for health and fitness purposes, helping users perfect their balance and weight distribution while engaging in a yoga pose, for example.
The patent reads: “[T]he user may be in a yoga pose but her positioning may be slightly off or otherwise suboptimal for the pose.” Audio cues could then instruct the wearer to “stop leaning to the right” or offer encouragement by telling them to “you can improve your posture by changing your stance!”
That element of the tech calls for a “sensing device” such as the yoga mat, which sounds like a Wii Fit board to us to us, as a companion device.