The patent application, titled “Wireless Ear Bud System With Pose Detection,” explains how the earbuds can detect the position of the user’s head and use that data in conjunction with an iPhone to send feedback and coaching through the earbuds during workouts and fitness routines.
Sensors and accelerometers would be used in the earbuds to collect information about the user’s orientation.
The patent application states, “A host electronic device may communicate wirelessly with the ear buds and may form part of an ear bud system that supplies the user with coaching and feedback while evaluating user performance of a head movement routine or other exercise routine.”
AirPods could assist Fitness+ users in performing their exercises correctly in the future
In the patent application, Apple also states that “Feedback such as audible feedback may be provided to a user based on evaluation of user performance of the head movement routine. Other suitable actions may be taken such as issuing performance reports and alerts.”
According to the patent application documentation, by determining which pose is being performed during an exercise, the pose can be compared to a “desired sequence of poses associated with a head movement exercise routine.”
For example, if the user was intended to perform neck stretches in a left-forward-right-backward order, the technology can determine whether the pose that the user made is considered the desired pose and has “occurred in a timely fashion.”
This is where it gets interesting. If a pose is performed incorrectly, such as at the incorrect time or in the incorrect order, the user will receive negative feedback in the form of a harsh buzzer tone.
Positive feedback would be played over the earbuds if the user performed the pose correctly (such as a pleasant chime). Users may also receive audible, visible, and/or haptic guidance.
The guidance could take the form of spoken commands, text, audio clips, diagrams, videos, and other methods that help guide the user through the routine. For example, the guidance may include an overview of the goals of the routine, information on suitable preparation for the routine (e.g., preparatory head movements and body stance), and real-time guidance such as step-by-step directions provided during the routine.
Apple claims in a later patent application that a device with a screen can display the desired pose. “A cellular telephone, tablet computer, desktop computer, television, or other device” is one of these devices.
If the system detects that the user is out of breath or otherwise experiencing a sudden health issue during the routine, the exercise guidance can be turned off immediately.
In the event that the user has a health problem, he may receive an alert telling him that he needs to stop exercising. The user could also receive a performance report or have one uploaded to an online service after completing the exercise routine.
System could also improve delivery of Spatial Audio
According to the patent application, the user could be given advice on how to improve his performance for the next time. “Roll slower next time,” for example, is one example of such advice.
Apart from using the patent’s technology to coach users through workouts, using AirPods to track the position of the user’s head can also aid in the distribution of spatial audio.
Spatial Audio, which is used by more than half of Apple Music subscribers, streams music in three dimensions, allowing the listener to differentiate between sounds coming from in front of him, behind him, and below him.
The audio stream can be delivered precisely to recreate the location of each sound in three-dimensional space when it was recorded by knowing the user’s head position.