A new Apple patent application has surfaced today that describes how users will be able to better control audio and visual outputs for their iOS devices. Apple states that the new visualizer is similar to the one currently available on iTunes, but not operationally. The new system works on fine-tuning itself to the user's environment, especially for those in high octane exercise or party environments. The system appears to take Apple's iTunes DJ app to the next level. The new system employs a new physiological sensor which monitors your heart and breathing rates while you're dancing so as to adjust the music and light show accordingly. The new system appears to have been designed with Apple's new social networking app Ping in mind.
Some traditional electronic devices allow a user to control audio and visual output. For example, a traditional device may allow a user to select several songs for a playlist and enable a visualizer for providing a visualization of the music. However, such traditional playlists are typically static and traditional visualizers are based on the configuration specified by the user and the audio content of the music. Accordingly, the audio and visual output provided by a traditional device could be completely inappropriate for the device's environment.
This is directed to systems and methods for controlling an audio and visual experience based on an environment. A system could monitor an environment while playing back music. The system could then identify a characteristic property of the environment and modify an audio-related or visual-related operation based on the characteristic property. The characteristic property could be any suitable property of the environment or any combination thereof. For example, the characteristic property could be related to an ambient property of the environment (e.g., light or sounds) or the environment's occupants (e.g., number of people nearby or characteristics of people nearby).
After identifying the characteristic property, the system could modify an audio-related or visual-related operation in any suitable manner based on the characteristic property. For example, the system could modify a visual-related operation by providing a visualization of the music based on at least the characteristic property.
In another example, the system could modify an audio-related operation by selecting a piece of music based on at least the characteristic property and then playing back the selected music. Accordingly, a system could control an audio and visual experience based on its environment.
Apple's patent really begins when they begin pointing out the various components involved in this new system; Components that will likely be coming to various future versions of Apple's iOS devices.
According to Apple's patent, the motion sensing component 115 noted below in patent FIG. 1, could be operative to detect movements of an iPhone (or other iOS devices). In some embodiments, the motion sensing component could be operative to detect movements of the iPhone with sufficient precision to detect vibrations in the device's environment.
In some embodiments, the magnitude or frequency of such vibrations may be representative of the movement of people in the environment. For example, each person may be dancing and their footfalls may create vibrations detectable by motion the sensing component.
Apple's invention will also utilize, believe it or not, a physiological sensing component (117) which could be operative to detect one or more physiological metrics of a user, such as heart rate, pulse waveform, breathing rate, blood-oxygen content, galvanic skin response, temperature, heat flux, any other suitable physiological metric, or any combination thereof.
The unit could include a heart rate sensor, a pulse waveform sensor, a respiration sensor, a galvanic skin response sensor, a temperature sensor (e.g., an infrared photodetector), an optical sensor (e.g., a visible or infrared light source and photodetector), any other suitable physiological sensor, or any combination thereof.
Some Sensors Connect to a User's Body
In some embodiments, the physiological sensing component may include one or more electrical contacts for electrically coupling with a user's body. Such sensors could be exposed to the external environment or disposed under an electrically, optically, and/or thermally conductive material so that the contact could obtain physiological signals through the material. This could be theoretically used with a future version of the Nike + iPod system, other gym based equipment or perhaps to a skier and so forth.
Social Networking: Monitoring Your Environment
In some embodiments, an electronic device may monitor an environment by determining the music libraries or user preference stored on other devices located within the environment. For example, electronic devices 202-205 noted above in patent FIG. 2 may store music libraries (e.g., in storage or memory) and electronic device 201 may receive signals from devices 202-205 representing the contents of those libraries. In such an example, electronic device 201 may then control an audio and visual experience based on the music libraries of the environment's occupants (e.g., users whose devices are within the environment). Such an exemplary use can also apply to user preferences (e.g., favorite genres or previous song ratings) stored on other devices located within the environment. In some ways, this borrows ideas from Apple's iTunes DJ and Apple Remote Apps.
A system for controlling an audio and visual experience may include a server. In some embodiments, a server may facilitate communications amongst devices. For example, system 200 may include server 210 for hosting a website (e.g., a social networking website) and the server may transmit signals to the devices representing information about an environment that is collected from the website. In such an example, electronic device 201 may then control an audio and visual experience based on the information about the environment (e.g., which website members are in the environment or the mood of the website members that are in the environment).
Somehow this is all going to all tie back into Apple's new Ping social networking application available on iTunes. This is likely the social networking website noted above, though that's just my impression.
Beyond the Traditional iTunes Visualizer
Apple's patent FIG. 4 is a schematic view of an illustrative display for providing a visualization of music. Elements provided through visualizer 410 can have a size, shape, or color based at least partially on music. For example, a relatively large element may be used to represent relatively loud music. In another example, a relatively bright element may be used to represent relatively bright (e.g., upbeat or high-pitched) music. Elements provided through visualizer 410 can move based on music (e.g., synchronized with music). For example, elements may move relatively quickly to represent relatively fast-paced music. Elements provided through visualizer 410 can include three-dimensional effects based on music. For example, elements may include shadows or reflections to represent relatively loud music. In some embodiments, visualizer could include a visualizer similar in general appearance, but not operation, to the visualizer provided as part of the iTunes software.
However, unlike a traditional visualizer, a visualizer in accordance with this invention may operate based at least partially on an environment. For example, the visualizer may provide imagery with one or more features based at least partially on the environment. Any suitable feature of a visualization could be based on the environment such as, for example, the number of elements, the size of each element, the color palette (e.g., the color of each element or the color of the background), the location of each element, the form in which each element moves, the speed at which each element moves, any other suitable feature of a visualization or any combination thereof.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 is a schematic view of an illustrative display for configuring a system to provide a visualization of music.
Apple's patent FIG. 7 is a schematic view of an illustrative display for configuring a system to provide a visualization of music; FIG. 8 is a schematic view of an illustrative display for selecting a piece of music; and FIG. 10 is a schematic view of an illustrative display for configuring a system to select a piece of music.
Apple credits Allen Haughay Jr. and Michael Ingrassia as the inventors of patent application 20110015765, originally filed in Q3 2009.
It should be noted that we just reported on Apple filing an application with the USPTO yesterday that will adjust their branding to cover social networking.
Other Noteworthy Patent Applications Published Today
Other patent application information may be listed here later today.
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