April 9, 2019

Audio Analytic granted new patent to give headphones a sense of hearing

A new granted patent from Audio Analytic, the world’s leading provider of sound recognition software, will bring artificial intelligence (AI) to headphones, earphones and earbuds. The new patent enables these ‘hearable’ devices to recognise sounds that cannot be heard by wearers, as well as adapting to the acoustic environment to enhance the audio experience and improve battery life. As a result, consumers can lose themselves in their music without losing touch with the world around them.

Today, a large number of headphones, earphones and earbuds are equipped with external facing microphones in order to offer active noise cancellation. The same microphones can also be put to better use for intelligent sound recognition. Giving these devices a human-like sense of hearing empowers brands in this market to offer consumers new and compelling contextual-sensing benefits, such as alerting them to undetectable sounds while wearing hearables or allowing select sounds through – such as a siren or alarm.

In addition, by better understanding the acoustic surroundings, headphones, earphones or earbuds could also enhance sound quality and better manage battery power by automatically choosing when to turn noise-cancelling on and off or by modifying the equalisation settings in different environments.

The new patent US10224019B2, can be viewed here: https://patents.google.com/patent/US10224019B2/en?oq=US10224019+B2

The patent identifies four key opportunities this technology creates, which both brands and consumers can benefit from.


1. Hearables can understand important sounds happening in the world around a wearer, alerting them to potential danger or important audio events by increasing transparency or pausing music.

For example, a consumer wearing a pair of true wireless earbuds while running can be warned of an approaching emergency vehicle. Or somebody at home wearing over-ear headphones can be notified if somebody is knocking at the door, or the sound of a carbon monoxide alarm.

2. The patent covers the ability for headphones to understand when the wearer is in a conversation, automatically changing settings, such as pausing music or increasing transparency to enable a conversation to take place without the user having to physically interact with the headphones or app.

3. Headphones can dynamically turn noise cancellation on or off, according to the acoustic environment – rather than having to be manually turned on and running at full power all the time. This means that headphones could offer better battery life for consumers.

4. And finally, headphones or earphones can also offer dynamic EQ, adjusting equalisation settings according to the acoustic environment, enabling devices to ensure the user gets the best audio experience possible, no matter where they are.

“The hearables market is a very exciting place right now. Consumers are replacing wired headphones with both wireless and true wireless devices, creating the opportunity for wearers to express individuality and enjoy high-quality audio experiences in a form factor that suits their needs. The surge in demand for untethered devices is driving innovation and competition, and the major brands are looking for sources of uniqueness. As with most other sectors of the consumer electronics market, they tend to look towards AI and we see sound recognition as a major part of that movement,” commented Dr Chris Mitchell, Audio Analytic’s CEO and Founder.

As well as headphones, earphones or earbuds, Audio Analytic’s patent also covers other wearable devices, such as fitness trackers, smart watches and smart clothing.


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About our Patents


We have a portfolio of 25 patents globally (filed and granted).

Our patent portfolio is a combination of patents covering the uses of sound recognition in products, and covering the technology techniques we use and have used for our sound recognition. You can visit the patents page, which shows our full list of patents which are either granted or are in the public phase of the various patent systems. We continue to maintain trade secrets around our own ‘special sauce’ which has been built up from years of practical experience.

About Audio Analytic

Audio Analytic is the pioneer of AI sound recognition software. The company is on a mission to map the world of sounds, offering our sense of hearing to consumer technology. By transferring our sense of hearing to consumer products and digital personal assistants we give them the ability to react to the world around us, helping satisfy our entertainment, safety, security, wellbeing and communication needs.

Audio Analytic’s ai3™ sound recognition software enables device manufacturers and chip companies to equip products with Artificial Audio Intelligence, recognizing and automatically responding to our growing list of sound profiles.

Audio Analytic is the pioneer of artificial audio intelligence, which is empowering a new generation of smart products to hear and react to the sounds around us.

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