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Apple knows it’s not safe to wear AirPods on roads, and is doing something about it

By Sanuj Bhatia July 15, 2022, 3:15 pm
airpods Source: Pocketnow Video

AirPods are massively popular. Be it the subway, airplanes, malls, or office complexes, you can spot a person wearing AirPods almost everywhere. However, there's one area where wearing a set of AirPods can be dangerous, and it's the roads. While features like ANC have definitely helped us get rid of the background noise, the feature can prove to be life-threatening if the person wearing the AirPods is walking down a busy road.

The Cupertino giant certainly realizes the need for a system that would help users in such situations, and the latest patent granted to Apple could help solve this problem. The patent (via SlashGear) granted to Apple by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) talks about a technology that will automatically adjust the audio levels of the AirPods based on the surroundings so that the user can hear essential sounds around them.

AirPods Pro Featured Image Source: Pocketnow

The technology would make use of data such as the speed of the person wearing the AirPods, their positional data, and sensor readings on the other devices to determine if the volume level of the AirPods has to be lowered. Currently, Apple Watch can measure noise levels and tell the user if their hearing could be affected. The technology could make use of the Apple Watch's reading to reduce the volume of the AirPods.

For example, if the GPS data of the iPhone (or the Apple Watch) that the AirPods is connected with detects that the person wearing them is moving towards a busy crossroad, it will automatically lower the volume or pause the music playing on the AirPods so that they become aware of the surroundings. Similarly, it would lower the volume when an emergency alert or other warning messages are being played nearby.

airpods 3 are ipx4 rated

The technology will also be able to determine the direction the user is walking in and accordingly adjust the volume level of only the left or right earbud. The system would also be able to tell if the user's attention is required is necessary, such as in hazardous locations such as a job site or in an education facility, and then lower the volume of the AirPods. In addition to lowering the volume, the patent also discusses certain types of alerts directly being fed into the user's ear through AirPods in case of emergencies, such as flood alerts, accidents, and weather alarms.

While AirPods (and other wireless earbuds) have enabled people to consume music wherever and whenever they like, they have an unintended side effect of consuming users' attention. This may impact the safety of the user as well as the safety of those around them. The new technology that Apple has patented could help in saving a number of lives. In addition to the road safety feature, Apple is also said to be working on a technology that would be able to detect body posture and provide real-time feedback through AirPods, which could also improve the quality of our life.

Apple is rumored to introduce a new AirPods Pro model this year. While we're all expecting the upcoming AirPods Pro 2 to come with health-tracking features, the latest report from reliable Apple leaker Mark Gurman suggests otherwise. Instead of health-tracking features, could this patented technology make its debut on the next-gen AirPods Pro? Only time will tell. What are your thoughts on Apple's latest patented technology? Let us know in the comments section below!


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