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Future AirPods may include pressure sensing features

Future AirPods may include pressure sensing features. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20180367886) for “pressure sensing earbuds and systems and methods for the use thereof” with the goal of making better-better-fitting earbuds.

Per the patent filing, the AirPods can include one or more pressure sensors to determine the size and shape of a user’s ear. The pressure signals can be relayed back to a processor, which may use them to dynamically optimize the volume levels delivered for frequencies over the audible range for a particular user.

Apple says that pressure sensors may be employed in a testing environment to determine the best size and shape earbuds for the general population in terms of fit and frequency response or to build a library of aural profiles. An aural profile can be a data file including an ear size and a measured frequency response for a particular earbud. 

For example, a number of different earbud shapes can be tested over a large population to determine which earbud shapes provide the best fit and frequency response for the largest population set. As another example, one particular earbud can be tested over a large population. Pressure signals corresponding to each user’s ear size can be recorded along with the frequency response for each earbud and combined together in a data file to form an aural profile. 

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.