AirPods Studio headphones may be able to listen to your silent mouth gestures to accept commands

It's fascinating!

AirPods Studio Mock
Mock AirPods Studio Headphones

Apple recently filed a patent in which it potentially referenced the rumored AirPods Studio headphones. According to the patent, a user will be able to use voice commands or silent gestures to control their headphones, as reported by Patently Apple.

The upcoming AirPods Studio headphones may feature self-mixing interferometry sensors to detect self-mixing interferometry signals. According to Wikipedia, Interferometers are widely used for measuring small displacements, refractive index changes, and surface irregularities.

In practical usage, how it will work is the interferometry sensor on the over-the-ear headphones will direct a beam of light on a user’s head and look for irregularities in its reflection. This could be used for “bio authentication and/or audio conditioning of received sound or voice inputs to a microphone.”

AirPods Studio Apple Patent 1
Apple’s patent confirms AirPods Studio headphones’ design based on icons retrieved from recent iOS 14.3 Beta by 9To5Mac. Source: PatentlyApple

What it means is that an individual’s AirPods Studio headphones may be able to recognize that individual’s voice and take commands using silent gestures.

Moreover, the AirPods Studio headphones may apparently be able to detect deformations or vibrations caused in your skin. Skin deformations over the head or the scalp can be caused when an individual silently mouths words. An interferometry sensor implemented within the headphones can be used to detect those deformations.

The patent also mentions that the headphones may contain a specific processor and/or a bio authentication chip that could be used for storing and authenticating voice commands. You may need to calibrate the headphones using your voice for the first time, a process that is similar to when you first calibrate Siri on iPhones and iPads.

Furthermore, the headphones may only accept commands from the user whose voice was initially stored during the calibration process, as per the patent.

Apple also states in the patent that the interferometry sensors may be implemented in a mixed reality, augmented reality, or a virtual reality headset. It is unclear if Apple is talking about a separate headset or the AirPods Studio itself. If the latter is the case, the AirPods Studio headphones could be potentially an essential part of Apple’s rumored AR/VR headset that the company is reportedly working on.

What are the AirPods Studio headphones and where are they yet?

The AirPods Studio headphones are Apple’s highly-rumored over-the-head headsets. These are expected to share most features from the AirPods Pro including Active Noise Cancelation and Transparency modes.

Additionally, those are expected to feature Apple’s proprietary UWB (Ultra WideBand) chip to detect left and right ear positioning. Apart from that, they may come in two variants—a sports variant and a luxury variant.

The sports variant of the AirPods Studio headphones could include cheaper materials while the luxury variant may use materials like leather. Initially, rumors suggested that these would also include the option to swap parts similar to the experience on the Apple Watch. However, a Bloomberg report says that production issues have made Apple cancel that.

The Bloomberg report also suggested that AirPods Studio may be delayed without mentioning the extent of the delay. Although, recently, cryptic leaker @l0vetodream cryptically hinted towards a “Christmas surprise” from Apple. We do not know for sure what that means, but they could as well be the AirPods Studio headphones.

AirPods Studio renders by Jon Prosser
Source: Jon Prosser/Twitter

There have also been leaks where the apparent design of the AirPods Studio headphones has been revealed including renders as well as a full-fledged video of the purported headphones in its casing.

A unique bio authentication and voice command system would pique interest in a lot of users. Although, it’s worth noting that it’s a patent. Apple files several patents every year and only a handful make it into products. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance Apple will implement these features in its AirPods Studio headphones.

It would be quite fascinating if it does.


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