Noise "Balancing" Gestural Ear-buds
Hearing your favorite song can be as much of an energy boost as a double espresso. A morning mp3 playlist can be as much a "wake-up" ritual as a cup of coffee or the morning paper.
The rise of digital media has made personal audio control infinitely portable, making an mp3 player and headphones an easy addition to any environment in daily life. Add sound cancelling tech and high fidelity micro-transducers to the mix and a favorite soundscape can almost completely blot out the outside world.
Sounds great right? But what do you do when something needs to compete for your aural attention? Beyond being sonic blinders, headphones in public scream “don’t bother me” and “I’m not paying attention” even when the sound is off. In the office this leads to awkward one sided conversations (and a perceived rudeness), and in public puts the music-lover in danger by dulling their senses on a busy city-street.
Shifting attention is usually awkward and requires a bunch of steps: put down what you are doing/carrying, display “hold-on” gesture, rifle for the media player controls in pocket, turn down volume, partially remove headphones, refocus attention, attempt to look aware of something other than The Black Eyed Peas. In the time that takes, a rogue bike-messenger has already flattened you, or a project manager has decided you’re too busy messing around to take on the new project they just told you about and you didn’t hear while blasting “My Hump”.
This concept aims to shrink that reaction time to single all-ready familiar gestures while adding visual cues so the outside world knows just how tuned in you are or are not.
Instead of being noise cancelling, these ear-buds are “noise-balancing,” allowing environmental sound to filter in with the music.
-The action of putting the ear-buds in triggers internal sensors, activates playback, and balances music and environmental sounds augmenting the ordinary with music while keeping the listener connected. A volume diagram on the outside of the headphones is partially lit letting passers-by know the user is “plugged-in” but aware.
-Lightly pulling on the ear-buds(same motion as removing the buds) pauses playback and opens the “Ambient Noise Canal” to allow the listener to fully focus on the environment without removing/dropping their headphones. The volume diagram goes dark.
-The natural action of covering your ears turns the volume up to help blot out noisy environments that you are subjected to. The volume diagram is fully illuminated and flashing, letting the world you are now totally cut off from sonic reality.
By mixing ultra fast gestural control with visual feedback, the common headphone can provide you with inspiration you need without getting you labeled an anti-social teenager or leaving you a pavement pancake.
Last edited by p_low_q
on May 31st, 2010, 10:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.