This analysis was accepted by and obtained a Finest Paper Award throughout ACM Designing Interactive Techniques (DIS) 2023, which is devoted to advancing the sphere of user-centered system design.
Headphones are historically used to offer and handle audio experiences via bodily controls and a spread of sensors. Nonetheless, these controls and sensors have remained confined to audio enter and output performance, reminiscent of adjusting the amount or muting the microphone. Think about if headphones may transcend their function as mere audio units.
As a result of headphones rank among the many hottest wearables out there, now we have an thrilling alternative to increase their capabilities via integrating current sensors with supplementary ones to allow all kinds of experiences that transcend conventional audio management. In our paper, “Past Audio: In direction of a Design House of Headphones as a Web site for Interplay and Sensing,” we share a imaginative and prescient that explores this potential.
Through the use of sensors reminiscent of microphones, proximity sensors, movement sensors, inertial measurement models (IMUs), and LiDARs, headphone designers can discover new avenues of enter and interplay. The truth that headphones are worn on an individual’s head permits for a variety of functions, reminiscent of following head actions, physique postures, and hand gestures. Moreover, as wearable units, headphones have the potential to offer wearers with context-rich info and allow extra intuitive and immersive interactions with their units and atmosphere past conventional button-based controls.
Potential eventualities for sensor-enhanced headphones
To discover this idea additional, we suggest augmenting headphones with further sensors and enter widgets. These embody:
- IMUs to sense head orientation
- Swappable units of enter controls
- A spread-sensing LiDAR that permits the sensing of hand gestures
By incorporating these capabilities, we envision a variety of functions the place headphone enter acts as a bridge between the individual sporting it and their atmosphere and allow extra environment friendly and context-aware interactions amongst a number of units and duties. For instance, a headphone may help folks with functions like video video games or assist handle interruptions throughout a video name.
Let’s discover some eventualities as an instance the potential of our headphone design idea. Think about an individual engaged in a video name with teammates when they’re instantly interrupted by a colleague who approaches in individual. On this scenario, our headphones could be geared up to detect contextual cues, reminiscent of when the wearer rotates their head away from a video name, signaling a shift in consideration. In response, the headphones may robotically blur the video feed and mute the microphone to guard the wearer’s privateness, as proven in Determine 1. This function may additionally talk to different contributors that the wearer is briefly engaged in one other dialog or exercise. When the wearer returns their consideration to the decision, the system removes the blur and reactivates the microphone.
In one other privacy-focused state of affairs, think about an individual concurrently conversing with a number of teammates in separate video name channels. Our headphone design permits the wearer to manage to whom their speech is directed by merely taking a look at their meant viewers, as proven in Determine 2. This directed speech interplay can prolong past video calls and be utilized to different contexts, reminiscent of sending focused voice instructions to teammates in a multiplayer online game.
In our paper, we additionally show how socially recognizable gestures can introduce new types of audio-visual management as a substitute of relying solely on on-screen controls. For instance, wearers may work together with media via gestural actions, reminiscent of cupping their ear in the direction of the audio supply to extend the amount whereas concurrently lowering ambient noise, as proven in Determine 3. These gestures, ingrained in social and cultural contexts, can function each management mechanisms and nonverbal communication alerts.
Moreover, we are able to estimate the wearer’s head gaze via the usage of an IMU. When mixed with the bodily location of computing units within the wearer’s neighborhood, it opens up potentialities for seamless interactions throughout a number of units. As an example, throughout a video name, the wearer can share the display screen of the machine they’re actively specializing in. On this state of affairs, the wearer shifts their consideration from an exterior monitor to a pill machine. Despite the fact that this pill just isn’t straight linked to the primary laptop computer, our system easily transitions the display screen sharing for the wearer’s viewers within the video name, as proven in Determine 4.
Lastly, in our paper we additionally present the usage of embodied interactions, the place the wearer’s physique actions serve to animate a digital illustration of themselves, reminiscent of an avatar in a video name, as proven in Determine 5. This function will also be carried out as a gameplay mechanism. Take a racing recreation for example, the place the wearer’s physique actions may management the car’s steering, proven on the left in Determine 6. To increase this functionality, these actions may allow a wearer to peek round obstacles in any first-person recreation, enhancing the immersion and gameplay expertise, proven on the appropriate in Determine 6.
Design house for headphone interactions
We outline a design house for interactive headphones via an exploration of two distinct ideas, which we focus on in depth in our paper.
First, we have a look at the kind of enter gesture for the interplay, which we additional classify into three classes. The gestural enter from the wearer would possibly fall underneath a number of of those classes, which we define in additional element beneath and illustrate in Determine 7.
- Contact-based gestures that contain tangible inputs on the headphones, reminiscent of buttons or knobs, requiring bodily contact by the wearer
- Mid-air gestures, which the wearer makes with their arms in shut proximity to the headphones, detected via LiDAR expertise
- Head orientation, indicating the path of the wearer’s consideration
The second method that we outline the design house is thru the context inside which the wearer executes the motion. Right here, design concerns for sensor-enhanced headphones transcend consumer intentionality and noticed movement. Context-awareness allows these headphones to know the wearer’s actions, the functions they’re engaged with, and the units of their neighborhood, as illustrated in Determine 8. This understanding allows the headphones to offer personalised experiences and seamlessly combine with the wearer’s atmosphere. The 4 classes that outline this context-awareness are comprised of the next:
- Context-free actions, which produce comparable outcomes whatever the lively utility, the wearer’s exercise, or the social or bodily atmosphere.
- Context that’s outlined by the appliance with which the wearer is interacting. For instance, are they listening to music, on a video name, or watching a film?
- Context that’s outlined by the wearer’s physique. For instance, is the wearer’s gesture near a physique half that has an related that means? Eyes would possibly relate to visible capabilities, ears to audio enter, and the mouth to audio output.
- Context that’s outlined by the wearer’s atmosphere. For instance, are there different units or folks across the wearer with whom they could need to work together?
Trying forward: Increasing the probabilities of HCI with on a regular basis wearables
Sensor-enhanced headphones provide a promising avenue for designers to create immersive and context-aware consumer experiences. By incorporating sensors, these headphones can seize refined consumer behaviors, facilitating seamless interactions and enhancing the wearer’s general expertise.
From safeguarding privateness to offering intuitive management mechanisms, the potential functions for sensor-enhanced headphones are huge and thrilling. This exploration with headphones scratches the floor of what context-aware wearable expertise can empower its wearers to realize. Think about the multitude of wearables we use day-after-day that might profit from integrating comparable sensing and interplay capabilities into these units. For instance, think about a watch that may monitor your hand actions and detect gestures. By enabling communication between sensor-enhanced wearables, we are able to set up a cohesive ecosystem for human-computer interplay that spans throughout functions, units, and social contexts.