One of Apple's Patent Pending HomePod Inventions covers its Cantilevered Foot & Even Radial Distribution of Sound
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to the HomePod's internal stand which is technically referred to as a cantilevered foot. Even though the title of the patent and three quarters of the patent claims focus on HomePod's cantilevered foot, Apple's abstract and most of its summary is focused on the audio and other aspects of HomePod. For instance, Apple's patent abstract first notes that their invention "relates to speakers and more specifically to an array speaker for distributing music uniformly across a room."
In Apple's patent background they note that conventional speakers are generally directional in nature, which can have the effect of leaving dead spots within a room. Often a large array of speakers is distributed around a room to achieve a substantially uniform level of audio performance throughout the room. Conventional speakers can also be subject to vibratory excursions in certain playback regimes. For example, a subwoofer can cause substantial buzzing and or motion of a speaker depending on the volume and frequency of the music being played back. Consequently, improvements in speaker design are desirable.
The heart of Apple's invention covers an electronic device that includes the following: a device housing; audio driver assemblies disposed within the device housing; and a cantilevered foot secured to an end of the device housing and configured to support the device housing above a supporting surface, the cantilevered foot including: a central wall; and side walls integrally formed with and protruding from the central wall, the side walls being configured to attenuate vibrations generated by the acoustic speakers by flexing away from the central wall in directions substantially parallel to the supporting surface.
It likewise covers an audio device is disclosed and includes the following: a device housing; audio driver assemblies disposed within the device housing; and a cantilevered foot secured to a base of the device housing and configured to support the audio device above a supporting surface. The cantilevered foot includes a central wall; and side walls integrally formed with and protruding from the central wall, the side walls cooperating with the central wall to define a recessed region.
Apple's patent FIG. 14A illustrated below shows a cantilevered foot #230 just below array speaker #100. The cantilevered foot is configured to support the weight of the array speaker / HomePod above a supporting surface and to help dissipate vibrations propagating through array speaker.
Apple's patent FIG. 14B shows a perspective view of cantilevered foot #230. An interior layer #1402 of the cantilevered foot can be formed of a somewhat rigid but deflectable material such as polycarbonate.
Out of the 20 patent claims, 15 of them focus on the cantilevered foot of HomePod. Yet while the heart of the patent is about the cantilevered foot, the majority of the patent's "detailed description" is actually focused on the audio aspects of HomePod, the mesh on HomePod, Siri used with HomePod and so forth. Being that it's not the focus of the patent claims nor the title of the patent, those interested in reviewing the other aspects of the HomePod patent application can do so by reviewing the full patent filing here.
Apple's patent application 20180220213 titled "Cantilevered Foot for Electronic Device" was filed on March 27, 2018 and published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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