This analysis was accepted by and acquired a Finest Paper Award throughout ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2023, which is devoted to advancing the sphere of user-centered system design.
Headphones are historically used to supply and handle audio experiences by means of bodily controls and a variety of sensors. Nonetheless, these controls and sensors have remained confined to audio enter and output performance, similar to adjusting the quantity or muting the microphone. Think about if headphones might transcend their position as mere audio units.
As a result of headphones rank among the many hottest wearables available in the market, we have now an thrilling alternative to broaden their capabilities by means of integrating current sensors with supplementary ones to allow all kinds of experiences that transcend conventional audio management. In our paper, “Past Audio: In the 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 similar to 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 purposes, similar to following head actions, physique postures, and hand gestures. Moreover, as wearable units, headphones have the potential to supply 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 embrace:
- IMUs to sense head orientation
- Swappable units of enter controls
- A variety-sensing LiDAR that permits the sensing of hand gestures
By incorporating these capabilities, we envision a variety of purposes the place headphone enter acts as a bridge between the individual carrying it and their atmosphere and allow extra environment friendly and context-aware interactions amongst a number of units and duties. For instance, a headphone might help folks with purposes like video video games or assist handle interruptions throughout a video name.
Let’s discover some eventualities for instance the potential of our headphone design idea. Contemplate an individual engaged in a video name with teammates when they’re abruptly interrupted by a colleague who approaches in individual. On this scenario, our headphones can be outfitted to detect contextual cues, similar to when the wearer rotates their head away from a video name, signaling a shift in consideration. In response, the headphones might mechanically blur the video feed and mute the microphone to guard the wearer’s privateness, as proven in Determine 1. This characteristic might additionally talk to different members that the wearer is quickly 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 situation, think about an individual concurrently conversing with a number of teammates in separate video name channels. Our headphone design permits the wearer to regulate to whom their speech is directed by merely their meant viewers, as proven in Determine 2. This directed speech interplay can lengthen past video calls and be utilized to different contexts, similar to sending focused voice instructions to teammates in a multiplayer online game.
In our paper, we additionally exhibit 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 might work together with media by means of gestural actions, similar to cupping their ear in the direction of the audio supply to extend the quantity 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 indicators.
Moreover, we will estimate the wearer’s head gaze by means of the usage of an IMU. When mixed with the bodily location of computing units within the wearer’s neighborhood, it opens up prospects for seamless interactions throughout a number of units. As an illustration, throughout a video name, the wearer can share the display of the machine they’re actively specializing in. On this situation, the wearer shifts their consideration from an exterior monitor to a pill machine. Although this pill isn’t immediately related to the principle laptop computer, our system easily transitions the display 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, similar to an avatar in a video name, as proven in Determine 5. This characteristic will also be carried out as a gameplay mechanism. Take a racing sport as an example, the place the wearer’s physique actions might management the automobile’s steering, proven on the left in Determine 6. To increase this functionality, these actions might allow a wearer to peek round obstacles in any first-person sport, enhancing the immersion and gameplay expertise, proven on the correct in Determine 6.
Design area for headphone interactions
We outline a design area for interactive headphones by means of an exploration of two distinct ideas, which we talk about in depth in our paper.
First, we take 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 under and illustrate in Determine 7.
- Contact-based gestures that contain tangible inputs on the headphones, similar to buttons or knobs, requiring bodily contact by the wearer
- Mid-air gestures, which the wearer makes with their palms in shut proximity to the headphones, detected by means of LiDAR expertise
- Head orientation, indicating the path of the wearer’s consideration
The second approach that we outline the design area is thru the context inside which the wearer executes the motion. Right here, design issues for sensor-enhanced headphones transcend person intentionality and noticed movement. Context-awareness allows these headphones to grasp the wearer’s actions, the purposes they’re engaged with, and the units of their neighborhood, as illustrated in Determine 8. This understanding allows the headphones to supply customized 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 software, the wearer’s exercise, or the social or bodily atmosphere.
- Context that’s outlined by the applying 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 which 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 may wish to work together?
Wanting forward: Increasing the probabilities of HCI with on a regular basis wearables
Sensor-enhanced headphones supply a promising avenue for designers to create immersive and context-aware person experiences. By incorporating sensors, these headphones can seize refined person behaviors, facilitating seamless interactions and enhancing the wearer’s general expertise.
From safeguarding privateness to offering intuitive management mechanisms, the potential purposes 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 attain. Contemplate the multitude of wearables we use on daily basis that would profit from integrating comparable sensing and interplay capabilities into these units. For instance, think about a watch that may observe your hand actions and detect gestures. By enabling communication between sensor-enhanced wearables, we will set up a cohesive ecosystem for human-computer interplay that spans throughout purposes, units, and social contexts.