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Disney's 'Acoustruments' can control smartphones using sounds from their own speakers

Disney has created low-cost mechanisms called Acoustruments that can control your smartphone by using the sounds coming out of its speaker.
By
April 22, 2015

A new development out of Disney’s Research labs may one day change the way we use our mobile devices. The company has created a series of plastic mechanisms called Acoustruments that are able to control your smartphone by utilizing the mobile device’s existing audio functionality. Each Acoustrument comes with a tube that transfers sound from the speaker to the microphone, allowing users to alter the ultrasonic sound waves by blocking a series of various holes – similar to how a flute works. The video attached above explains the technology that Disney is using to create these devices.

Acoustrument-Passive-Acoustically-Driven-Interactive-Controls-for-Hand-Held-Devices-Image

So what’s the end goal? Disney says it’s trying to create functional applications that allow the end-user to interact with their mobile devices when access to the touchscreen is limited. For instance, the company has created a smart case that can sense when your phone is in your hand, on the table or being used for a camera. Other Acoustrument prototypes include a simple alarm clock, a stand that turns your phone into an interactive doll and even a case that allows you to play with your smartphone like a toy car.

These are very low-cost devices and require no power source, whatsoever. It might be awhile until we see fully-functional Acoustruments on the shelves, but it looks like the company is making some great progress in this field.