Apple researching how to make a 'Star Trek' communicator badge

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited October 2023

Apple has been researching how to make a small, wearable loudspeaker that would use beamformed audio to make it clearly audible to the wearer, yet not disturb anyone else.

Detail from the patent showing Bod wearing an audio device
Detail from the patent showing Bod wearing an audio device



Apple calls a newly-revealed patent application by the name, "Wearable Device with Directional Audio," but it's really "Star Trek: The Next Generation." At heart, this is how to solve the problem of your entire Away Team plus enemy aliens hearing when your mother calls to ask if you remembered your coat, or why you forgot your Humane AI Pin.

"A wearable device can provide an audio module that is operable to provide audio output from a distance away from the ears of the user," says Apple. "For example, the wearable device can be worn on clothing of the user and direct audio waves to the ears of the user."

All of the patent application's illustrations about wearing such a device, show a speaker clipped to the collar around someone's neck. But the descriptions specify only that "the wearable device can be worn on clothing of the user."

Apple's research focus for the possible new hardware is on how a wearable device can direct sound to the wearer, and not disrupt anyone else.

"Such audio waves can be focused by a parametric array of speakers that limit audibility by others," continues Apple. "Thus, the privacy of the audio directed to the user can be maintained without requiring the user to wear audio headsets on, over, or in the ears of the user."

One device would need to work in multiple orientations
One device would need to work in multiple orientations



Apple's objection to headphones is that they can be, "somewhat obtrusive to wear and can inhibit the user's ability to hear ambient sounds or simultaneously interact with others near the user."

The patent application is definitely not just for allowing you to listen to your Apple Music Favorites Mix on the go. It is also for communication.

"The wearable device can further include microphones and/or connections to other devices that facilitate calibration of the audio module of the wearable device," says Apple.

The patent application does then go on to add that such a wearable device could include sensors, "that are configured to detect, measure, and/or track one or more properties of the user."

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 697member
    I always figured that everyone could hear all the communicators, that they were just a lot more respectful in the future.
    When ST came out in the 60s, many saw it as a hope-filled sign that we as a species made it to the 23rd century.  
    Now I see it as na hope-filled sign that we as a species will eventually stop staring at our phones 24/7/365.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 27
    gilly33gilly33 Posts: 430member
    Now that’s what I’m talking about. 
    jas99
  • Reply 3 of 27
    maltzmaltz Posts: 449member
    jpellino said:
    I always figured that everyone could hear all the communicators, that they were just a lot more respectful in the future.
    When ST came out in the 60s, many saw it as a hope-filled sign that we as a species made it to the 23rd century.  
    Now I see it as na hope-filled sign that we as a species will eventually stop staring at our phones 24/7/365.

    Star Trek:TNG is commonly misinterpreted to think we become the Federation.  We're actually the Borg.
    zoetmblkruppmangakattenFileMakerFellerwilliamlondonpscooter63
  • Reply 4 of 27
    I work at a hospital where Vocera badges are used in the same manner. Those badges aren’t directional audio and I’m sure PHI is being shared without consent, well, at least being over heard. This patent by apple has me thinking better is coming in this space! Yes!
    Beatsjas99jony0
  • Reply 5 of 27
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    One to beam up, Scotty.
    pumpkin_kingBeatsFileMakerFellerNoGodsNoMasters
  • Reply 6 of 27
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,296member
    Live long and prosper Apple.
    edited March 2022 pumpkin_kingjas99FileMakerFellerFlappo
  • Reply 7 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,791member
    “Energize!”
    pumpkin_kingFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 8 of 27
    maltz said:
    jpellino said:
    I always figured that everyone could hear all the communicators, that they were just a lot more respectful in the future.
    When ST came out in the 60s, many saw it as a hope-filled sign that we as a species made it to the 23rd century.  
    Now I see it as na hope-filled sign that we as a species will eventually stop staring at our phones 24/7/365.

    Star Trek:TNG is commonly misinterpreted to think we become the Federation.  We're actually the Borg.
    Not the Borg, more so like Klingons. 
    pumpkin_kingBeatswilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 27
    Meh. I'm okay acting like an Avenger or Secret Service, pressing my finger to the "comm link" in my ear and saying things like, "Copy that!"
  • Reply 10 of 27
    A diversion maneuver?
    Personally, I think Apple is planning to use this tech in the bows of their coming goggles …and I like it.
    jas99FileMakerFellerwilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 27
    This could be cool. Make it so.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Who created all the fictional Star Trek tech? He’s most likely not alive anymore but Apple should have hired him. 
  • Reply 13 of 27
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,203member
    “Energize!”
    Like Bones, I’m NOT steppin’ into that damn thing!
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 27
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,279member
    maltz said:
    jpellino said:
    I always figured that everyone could hear all the communicators, that they were just a lot more respectful in the future.
    When ST came out in the 60s, many saw it as a hope-filled sign that we as a species made it to the 23rd century.  
    Now I see it as na hope-filled sign that we as a species will eventually stop staring at our phones 24/7/365.

    Star Trek:TNG is commonly misinterpreted to think we become the Federation.  We're actually the Borg.
    Either way is a vast military dictatorship in which people are only valued by their contribution to the machine. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 27
    maltzmaltz Posts: 449member
    mattinoz said:
    maltz said:
    jpellino said:
    I always figured that everyone could hear all the communicators, that they were just a lot more respectful in the future.
    When ST came out in the 60s, many saw it as a hope-filled sign that we as a species made it to the 23rd century.  
    Now I see it as na hope-filled sign that we as a species will eventually stop staring at our phones 24/7/365.

    Star Trek:TNG is commonly misinterpreted to think we become the Federation.  We're actually the Borg.
    Either way is a vast military dictatorship in which people are only valued by their contribution to the machine. 

    Um, all militaries are dictatorships, and Starfleet is no different.  It's called chain of command.  The Federation, however is neither a military nor a dictatorship.  I'm sure I could go into great detail about its political structure in my youth, but such details have since escaped me.  lol

    The Borg (well, before they introduced the queen, anyway) were actually the perfect democracy - and an excellent example of how a true, pure democracy is maybe not such a great idea.  Tyranny of the masses, mob justice, two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner, etc. etc...

    But both replies to my post completely missed my point, which is that we're increasingly outsourcing our own personal knowledge to external devices - like the Borg.  For information, I'm on the fence about whether that's a net good or ill.  It's great that anyone anywhere can know almost anything with a few taps.  So collective knowledge can be a  powerful tool.  But collective THOUGHT (which the Borg also embraced) seems like a less great idea.  I'd love an internet with more Wikipedia and fewer Facebook/Twitter/etc algorithms...
    muthuk_vanalingamStrangeDaysbeowulfschmidtFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 16 of 27
    omasouomasou Posts: 548member
    Isn't this what the Humane Ai Pin just took a swing and a miss at?

    Is it me or does it seem like Apple is trying to implement all of the Star Trek devices? What's next a tricorder?
    edited October 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,791member
    mattinoz said:
    maltz said:
    jpellino said:
    I always figured that everyone could hear all the communicators, that they were just a lot more respectful in the future.
    When ST came out in the 60s, many saw it as a hope-filled sign that we as a species made it to the 23rd century.  
    Now I see it as na hope-filled sign that we as a species will eventually stop staring at our phones 24/7/365.
    Star Trek:TNG is commonly misinterpreted to think we become the Federation.  We're actually the Borg.
    Either way is a vast military dictatorship in which people are only valued by their contribution to the machine. 
    Tell me you don’t watch ST without telling me… The Federation is a multi-planetary alliance with a council governing body (think UN). Starfleet is their exploratory navy focused on science and exploration, with defensive armaments.
    Honkersgatorguymichelb76williamlondonmacguiFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 18 of 27
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,573member
    So Apple wants to flat out copy HUMANE now (ex Apple engineers)? 

    I don’t believe it. They have the watch. 

    This is likely to get money from others attempting to work in this space. May also be implemented somehow in future version of vision pro and Apple Watch. 
    edited October 2023
  • Reply 19 of 27
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,232member
    mattinoz said:
    maltz said:
    jpellino said:
    I always figured that everyone could hear all the communicators, that they were just a lot more respectful in the future.
    When ST came out in the 60s, many saw it as a hope-filled sign that we as a species made it to the 23rd century.  
    Now I see it as na hope-filled sign that we as a species will eventually stop staring at our phones 24/7/365.
    Star Trek:TNG is commonly misinterpreted to think we become the Federation.  We're actually the Borg.
    Either way is a vast military dictatorship in which people are only valued by their contribution to the machine. 
    Tell me you don’t watch ST without telling me… The Federation is a multi-planetary alliance with a council governing body (think UN). Starfleet is their exploratory navy focused on science and exploration, with defensive armaments.
    And somehow these people are perfectly happy to work 96 hour shifts without getting a paycheck. I guess hot Earl Grey tea on demand is a good enough perk. 
    williamlondonmattinoz
  • Reply 20 of 27
    omasouomasou Posts: 548member
    So Apple wants to flat out copy HUMANE now (ex Apple engineers)? 

    I don’t believe it. They have the watch. 

    This is likely to get money from others attempting to work in this space. May also be implemented somehow in future version of vision pro and Apple Watch. 

    As Apple has always said, they some times have to say no to very good ideas to focus on priority projects.

    You don't think it more likely the Humane founders left Apple b/c Apple wouldn't/couldn't work on their idea? Thinking you may have the who copied who backward.
    FileMakerFeller
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