Future HomePod could detect dancing & change the music automatically

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
According to a new patent, Apple wants us to be able to dance, wave, gesture, or just enter and leave rooms, to have our smart devices like the HomePod do what we want.

I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.


Apple's HomePod already adjusts itself on setup to suit the acoustics of the room it's in. But now Apple seems to want that scanning and room awareness to be much more precise -- and always on.

According to a newly-granted patent called "Multi Media Computing Or Entertainment System For Responding To User Presence And Activity," Apple includes monitoring the activity of users in the room, too. And does it so that a device can do what a user wants, without that user having to necessarily even say it.

Apple's examples in the patent include a basic one, such as when the last person leaves the room. In that situation, the device could detect that the room is empty, and so stop playing music.

Or conceivably, if it's a large room with, say, a kitchen area at one end, then the HomePods there could know to pick up the music being played on other devices.

"[The] intelligent system acquires a depth image of a scene surrounding the system," says Apple. "A scene geometry may be extracted from the depth image and elements of the scene may be monitored."

"[Then] user activity in the scene is monitored and analyzed to infer user desires or intent with respect to the system," continues the patent.

In a similar way to how the HomePod senses its surroundings so it can alter acoustics, a future device may map out a room
In a similar way to how the HomePod senses its surroundings so it can alter acoustics, a future device may map out a room


Apple says that the "intelligent system" might recognize a user's wishes "expressed through hand gesture movements." For instance, just waving at a HomePod might tell it to change volume.

That would require that "such gesture movements [can] be interpreted based on real-time depth information obtained from, e.g., optical or non-optical type depth sensors," says Apple.

"When a system has an understanding of its users and the physical environment surrounding the user," continues the patent, "the system can better approximate and fulfill user desires, whether expressed literally or impliedly."

So a wave could change the volume, a military-style fist-up gesture might silence the music. In a professional setting such as delivering a presentation to an audience, Apple suggests a simple wave could move on to the next slide without the presenter relying on "inconsistent and imprecise" remote controls.

More than gesture recognition

But Apple isn't only interested in having the system follow set commands, it wants it to leverage all it knows so that it can produce the right result even when not specifically called for.

"For example," says Apple, "if [a] user is detected as older in age and that user expressly requests a higher volume, the system may decide that the user requires better differentiation of voice dialog in the system output."

Detail from the patent showing how a hand gesture might be identified.
Detail from the patent showing how a hand gesture might be identified.


"Therefore, the system may change the relative spectral distribution of the system output (to relatively amplify voice)," it continues, "rather than increase the average volume."

The patent is chiefly concerned with how a gesture, movement, or presence can be detected and interpreted, rather than necessarily on what the device then does with the information. Consequently, Apple doesn't say this, but such a system could detect a person dancing and provide appropriate music.

Note that while this patent has now been granted to Apple, the company applies for many hundreds of patents each year. Granted or not, there is no guarantee that a particular technology will result in product.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,524member
    I'm getting images of my grandmother playing charades with the family.

    One thing is for sure. Currently, presentation clickers are far more precise and consistent than any gesture interpretation system. 

    That said, the best and most elegant 'mute' function I've ever seen was a gesture. Just look at the TV and raise an index finger to your lips. Simplicity! 


    muthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFellerbyronl
  • Reply 2 of 10
    JP234JP234 Posts: 822member
    Not entirely convinced that constant video and audio surveillance of me by my digital devices is a good thing…
    williamlondonwatto_cobraFileMakerFellerbyronl
  • Reply 3 of 10
    JP234 said:
    Not entirely convinced that constant video and audio surveillance of me by my digital devices is a good thing…
    i don’t know about that, what if your devices could detect your life-less body on the floor and call for help (granted you were not wearing your AppleWatch)…
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,588member
    Future HomePod could detect dancing & change the music automatically

    So I’m in a room and like the song that’s on. I start bopping to it, The HomePod thinks I want to dance, so it changes the song way from the one I was listening to?

    That sounds annoying. 

    I mean the rest of it could be interesting, useful even. I’m a bit uncomfortable with it monitoring the room all the time, but that’s another issue.

    watto_cobraFileMakerFellerbyronl
  • Reply 5 of 10
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,260member
    FFS, make Siri better!

    Forget weird features like that that will require using customers as alpha/beta testers.


    byronlbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 6 of 10
    DAalseth said:
    Future HomePod could detect dancing & change the music automatically

    So I’m in a room and like the song that’s on. I start bopping to it, The HomePod thinks I want to dance, so it changes the song way from the one I was listening to?

    That sounds annoying. 

    I mean the rest of it could be interesting, useful even. I’m a bit uncomfortable with it monitoring the room all the time, but that’s another issue.

    FTFA: “Consequently, Apple doesn't say this, but such a system could detect a person dancing and provide appropriate music.“

    Not sure why this was the headline considering it’s not one of the myriad things mentioned in the patents, but there you go. 
    watto_cobraJP234FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 10
    JP234JP234 Posts: 822member
    darbus69 said:
    JP234 said:
    Not entirely convinced that constant video and audio surveillance of me by my digital devices is a good thing…
    i don’t know about that, what if your devices could detect your life-less body on the floor and call for help (granted you were not wearing your AppleWatch)…
    An interesting hypothetical. but not enough to convince me I want to live in a surveillance state. It's only a step or two from living in a totalitarian state. Ironic, given that the 1984 Apple Superbowl ad introducing the Macintosh was a screed against Big Brother!
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 8 of 10
    JP234 said:
    darbus69 said:
    JP234 said:
    Not entirely convinced that constant video and audio surveillance of me by my digital devices is a good thing…
    i don’t know about that, what if your devices could detect your life-less body on the floor and call for help (granted you were not wearing your AppleWatch)…
    An interesting hypothetical. but not enough to convince me I want to live in a surveillance state. It's only a step or two from living in a totalitarian state. Ironic, given that the 1984 Apple Superbowl ad introducing the Macintosh was a screed against Big Brother!
    Ah, but Big Brother in the advert was all about trying to treat everybody the same. Clearly if Apple is doing this to customise an individual's experience it is completely worth trading away your privacy - after all, as we saw in The Mandalorian, taking his helmet off in front of a droid was different to removing his helmet in the presence of another living being!

    /sarcasm
  • Reply 9 of 10
    I thought a person danced to the music.  According to this article, if Siri doesn’t like my dancing, it will change the music to fit my awkward stepping.  Interesting, but more than that, hugely worthwhile.  I’m so pleased Apple engineers are kept busy. It would be better if they spent their time making sure devices do the things they are supposed to, like making phone calls or sending texts or even not asking me every time I watch TV to sign in to accept new Ts and Cs, when it won’t show them to me. Maybe, I’m taking the dancing suggestion too seriously. 
  • Reply 10 of 10
    JP234JP234 Posts: 822member
    JP234 said:
    darbus69 said:
    JP234 said:
    Not entirely convinced that constant video and audio surveillance of me by my digital devices is a good thing…
    i don’t know about that, what if your devices could detect your life-less body on the floor and call for help (granted you were not wearing your AppleWatch)…
    An interesting hypothetical. but not enough to convince me I want to live in a surveillance state. It's only a step or two from living in a totalitarian state. Ironic, given that the 1984 Apple Superbowl ad introducing the Macintosh was a screed against Big Brother!
    Ah, but Big Brother in the advert was all about trying to treat everybody the same. Clearly if Apple is doing this to customise an individual's experience it is completely worth trading away your privacy - after all, as we saw in The Mandalorian, taking his helmet off in front of a droid was different to removing his helmet in the presence of another living being!

    /sarcasm
    I disagree about the role of Big Brother in the Apple ad. Big Brother was a metaphor for IBM, and its domination in the data space, leading to a dystopian future where yes, all are equal. Equal slaves. I think we may have seen different commercials.
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