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1600272271 Apple patents a device location system using inaudible sounds
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Apple patents a device location system using inaudible sounds

Currently the location of other devices through the app Search is based on GPS location that devices can be securely sent via iCloud. Other devices, such as AirPods, cannot transfer this information, so instead use sound, a system that could be expanded to more Apple products.

Location by sound

Patent

In some circumstances finding a device requires more than an internet connection and a GPS signal. When we’re trying to locate our iPhone at home, for example, the GPS signal is not accurate enough so we know it’s been left on the cushions between the couch and the kitchen shelf.

This field of precision location is precisely where the future will come into play AirTags, small locators that will use the U1 ultra-broadband chip of the latest iPhones to give us an exact location. By means of these signals, emitted by the AirTag and received by our iPhone, the system will be able to know very accurately the relative location, something that later will show us on screen.

– AirPods: We’re here! – iPhone: Coming!

It’s certainly a very interesting system, but it seems that Apple is developing an alternative or complementary system of the most curious: the sound. In a new patent with the uninspiring title of “Locating Wireless Devices” Apple exposes how the devices could emit sounds outside the range of human perception to communicate with each other.

So our iPhone could to guide us in a “cold” or “hot” style to the specific room where we would have left the AirPods, for example. With a source of emission on a particular frequency the receiving device, which would pick it up using at least two microphones, could calculate the location quite accurately. The beauty of this system, moreover, is that it would be relatively simple to implement in existing devices, such as AirPods, or older models of iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.

Locate

A beam signal is generated from the outputs of two or more microphones, which is filtered by one or more filters. One or more filters are set to pass sound at or around the specified frequency and to reduce masking of sound by ambient noise.

The filtered sound is associated with orientation data generated from sensor data provided by one or more inertial sensors in the electronics. [Esto podría hacerse de manera que] the specified frequency is greater than the maximum range of human hearing

The system also could be implemented by relating the current search structureWe have also developed a system for tracking devices, where an iPhone, either ours or someone else’s, could act as a tracking device while maintaining user privacy, just as is currently the case with tracking devices that are turned off or have no internet connection.

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It’s clear that Apple is investigating more and more ways to locate our devices. They are gradually building a global location system that can guarantee the privacy of all involved. That’s certainly good news.

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