This analysis was accepted by and obtained a Finest Paper Award throughout ACM Designing Interactive Techniques (DIS) 2023, which is devoted to advancing the sector of user-centered system design.
Headphones are historically used to offer 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, reminiscent of adjusting the amount 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 now have 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 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.
By utilizing sensors reminiscent of microphones, proximity sensors, movement sensors, inertial measurement items (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, reminiscent of following head actions, physique postures, and hand gestures. Moreover, as wearable units, headphones have the potential to offer 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 extra 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 sporting 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 individuals with purposes like video video games or assist handle interruptions throughout a video name.
Let’s discover some eventualities as an instance the potential of our headphone design idea. Contemplate an individual engaged in a video name with teammates when they’re out of the blue interrupted by a colleague who approaches in individual. On this state of affairs, our headphones could be outfitted to detect contextual cues, reminiscent of when the wearer rotates their head away from a video name, signaling a shift in consideration. In response, the headphones might routinely blur the video feed and mute the microphone to guard the wearer’s privateness, as proven in Determine 1. This function might additionally talk to different contributors 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 state of affairs, think about an individual concurrently conversing with a number of teammates in separate video name channels. Our headphone design permits the wearer to manage to whom their speech is directed by merely taking a look at their supposed viewers, as proven in Determine 2. This directed speech interplay can prolong past video calls and be utilized to different contexts, reminiscent of sending focused voice instructions to teammates in a multiplayer online game.
In our paper, we additionally display 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, reminiscent of cupping their ear in direction of the audio supply to extend the amount whereas concurrently decreasing ambient noise, as proven in Determine 3. These gestures, ingrained in social and cultural contexts, can function each management mechanisms and nonverbal communication alerts.
Moreover, we will estimate the wearer’s head gaze by means of using 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 screen of the machine they’re actively specializing in. On this state of affairs, the wearer shifts their consideration from an exterior monitor to a pill machine. Regardless that this pill shouldn’t be instantly linked to the principle laptop computer, our system easily transitions the display screen sharing for the wearer’s viewers within the video name, as proven in Determine 4.
Lastly, in our paper we additionally present using embodied interactions, the place the wearer’s physique actions serve to animate a digital illustration of themselves, reminiscent of an avatar in a video name, as proven in Determine 5. This function 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 car’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 suitable 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 focus on 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 may fall below 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, reminiscent of buttons or knobs, requiring bodily contact by the wearer
- Mid-air gestures, which the wearer makes with their fingers in shut proximity to the headphones, detected by means of LiDAR know-how
- 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 concerns 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 offer 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 related outcomes whatever the energetic software, the wearer’s exercise, or the social or bodily atmosphere.
- Context that’s outlined by the appliance 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 that means? Eyes may 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 individuals across the wearer with whom they could 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 delicate 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 know-how can empower its wearers to attain. Contemplate the multitude of wearables we use day by day that might profit from integrating related 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.