SweepSense Can Automatically Pause Your Music

February 10, 2016
SweepSense detects which earbud has been removed.

For earphone users, pulling your earphones out to address something that's diverted your attention is tedious — it becomes even more tedious when you forget to hit pause and end up missing whatever it was you were listening to.

Luckily, a new project developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University known as SweepSense can help earphone users avoid this issue by automatically pausing media when earphones are removed from the user’s ears. A recent article published in R&D Magazine covers the project, developed by a team that includes third-year HCII Ph.D. student Gierad Laput.

Laput explained that SweepSense uses the speaker and microphone hardware already in laptops and smartphones to emit inaudible ultrasound sweeps that can be picked up by the speaker system. The product can then detect ultrasound changes in the environment, such as earphones being removed from ears.

"In the future," Laput said, "we hope to explore larger contexts that have speakers and microphones, such as public address systems in subway stations and supermarkets."

Read more about recent experiments conducted with SweepSense on R&D.

Story by Aisha Rashid (DC'2019)