Breaking the Sound Barrier for Hearing and Gesture


Bone conduction has fascinated me as a way to transmit sound since I first interviewed Max Virtual in 2013 (see a prepost of the interview below). What is interesting today is the news that AT&T has released a series of 7 patent filings for bone conduction technology. As reported by FierceWirelessTech and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, these patents cover two areas:

1. Hearing enhancement: This would be used for the hearing implants, aids, bluetooth intercom systems, motorcyclists, etc. Google Glass, for example, uses a bone conduction transducer (BCT) to convey sound to the wearer.
2. Gesture capture: This enables vibrations to be sent through the body, transferring data that is captured by sensors in mobile devices. This would allow for such things as unique body signatures for verification and access, the determination of what physical activity is being done and pushing relevant information (maps, advertising, weather), as a means to not need to touch a screen in order to interact with a device.

Taking this vibrational technology outside the body and into devices would allow for objects to become sensors with only transmission technology added. For example, vibrations captured in a sneaker can determine weight, and distance but also take into account running surface, whether an injury or compensation due to a strain is developing, and other such factors. When one thinks of how the vibrational capture and transfer of data as a mechanism for interactivity, the possibilities become quite interesting.

Further links:
Patents can be see here, here and here.

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