Sometimes life is funnier than fiction. A new Microsoft invention published by the US Patent Office this week goes into great detail as to how you'll one day be able to silence your device by simply whacking it off. I'm not trying to be offensive – it's just what it is. And believe it or not, it actually gets funnier as you follow their train of thought. I laughed so much that it was hard to finish the report. For a Friday, you couldn't ask for a funnier topic if you tried.
A Look at Microsoft's Wacky Patent
Exemplary Overview: Microsoft's filing states that "There are a variety of circumstances under which it may be desirable to quickly control a device without having to interact with a traditional user interface. For example, often mobile device users forget to set their mobile devices in a silent or vibrate mode and the device rings or makes sounds at an inopportune moment." The techniques described in Microsoft's patent filing could be used for controlling an audio signal of the mobile device in response to a whacking of the mobile device.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 1 shown below is a block diagram of an exemplary mobile device 100 that could produce an audio signal that could be controlled. In the example, the mobile device could produce an audio signal using speaker 102. The audio signal could be controlled when a user whacks the mobile device and the whacking event is detected.
For example, while the audio signal is being produced, the whack based audio control module 110 of the mobile device could receive acceleration data from accelerometer 120. The acceleration data indicates acceleration of the mobile device detected by the accelerometer. The mobile device could include exemplar whack event data 130 that indicates exemplar acceleration during a whacking event. The whack based audio control module could receive exemplar event data to determine a correlation between the acceleration data and exemplar event data to detect a whacking event. When a whacking event is detected and responsive thereto, the audio signal is controlled.
The second patent figure noted above is Microsoft's patent FIG. 3A which illustrates a diagram 300 of an exemplary whack on which exemplar whack event data can be based. In the diagram 300, a user 310 whacks a mobile device 320 that is producing an audio signal 330. For example, the whack applies force to the mobile device which causes the mobile device to move over a period of time and accelerate accordingly. A whack could be a hitting of the mobile device such as with a slap, hit, swat, smack, flick, push, tap, or the like. The whack could include impact with the device. Because the user has the mobile device in a pocket 340, the whack is generally applied to one side of the mobile device. A whack could be applied to one side of a mobile device or more than one side of a mobile device. When the mobile device is whacked, the whack could be detected with reference to exemplar whack event data.
Microsoft's states that the types of audio signals that could be silenced by a whacking event include any of the following: a ringing, a ringtone, user-initiated audio, a tone, a played recording, an alarm, or the like. The audio signal could be in response to or indicate an incoming call, a message, an update, a reminder for a meeting or event, the playing of music or recording, or the like.
Microsoft provides twenty-six exemplary ways to whack your device off including exemplary multiple whacks with acceleration – relating to data of course.
According to Microsoft, the mobile device using this technology could be any of a variety of computing devices (e.g., cell phone, smartphone, handheld computer, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), etc.) and could allow wireless two-way communications with one or more mobile communications networks 804, such as a cellular or satellite network.
To read all about the nasty little details pertaining to this invention, check out Microsoft's patent 20120231838.
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Sites Covering our Original Report
Digg, Fark, Reddit, Slashdot, Shack News, MacSurfer, Twitter, Facebook, Verge Forums, TechSpy, Tech Report, Real Clear Technology, The Next Web, Gizmodo, WMPoweruser, wpcentral, CNET, Boio Romania, Gadgeterija Croatia, Digital Trends, ZDNet Belgium, Iltalehti Finland, and more.
A special thanks goes out to the Digg community for enthusiastically covering our report.