Apple Patents Headphones with Embedded Pressure Sensors

By James O Malley on at

The next version of Apple's EarPod headphones could dynamically change the volume of what you're listening to thanks to sensors built into the earbuds themselves, if a new patent is anything to go by.

AppleInsider reports that the company has filed a patent for "Pressure sensing earbuds and systems and methods for the use thereof", following up on a similar filing from 2011.

Apparently the way it could work is by sensing the air pressure inside your ear as a measure of how tight the seal between the earbud and your ear canal is - and adjusting the volume at different audible frequencies to compensate.

Apparently such a sensor would be made with a Quantum Tunnelling Composites - an elastomeric technology that will change its electrical resistance relative to the force applied, making it ideal to measure the pressure with. Apple Insider reckons that it would need an onboard processor to react to the data it is measuring to ensure a consistent audio experience too.

Whether this technology will show up in the next EarPods or future Beats-branded headphones remains to be seen. As is always worth remembering with patent stories like this one is that often companies will patent ideas even if they have no intention of building on them, in order to keep the ideas out of rival hands and safeguard them for possible future use. [ AppleInsider via UberGizmo]