RIM granted patent for automatic volume adjustment based on ear seal

Daniel Bader

March 27, 2012 12:50pm

A patent RIM applied for in 2007 was granted today with the intent on making smartphones more able to dynamically adjust earpiece volume based on the “estimated degree of seal of an ear about a speaker port.” Remember, some people still use their smartphones as, you know, phones.

What this means is that a phone equipped with this technology would be able to tell, based on how hard or close you’re pressing your ear to the phone, what the volume of the call should be. This is done by using the touch sensor and at least one proximity sensor (probably a light sensor) on the top end of the phone near the earpiece.

The patent opens up a bunch of opportunities for easing the button-mashing tendencies of busy commuters who have to deal with the transition from loud to soft environments throughout the day.

Source: USPTO
Via: Engadget


    Just when you think RIM is down and out, they are granted a “patent for automatic volume adjustment based on ear seal”.

    This is a huge win for the company, and a massive loss for both Apple and Android vendors.

    RIM IS BACK!!!!!!!

    • ELNY

      That’s probably the worst assumption anyone could ever make. As cool as this may be, some people a) use handsfree devices, therefore negating the use of this feature and b) hold their phones to their face with the same pressure regardless of external environmental sources. Although a “cool” feature to have, this won’t save RIM at all.

  • Paul

    At least it is a patent on solid technology and not a swiping of a bar in a certain direction on a screen or some other BS. It isn’t going to have an impact on RIM however other than having the patent.

  • Marc-Olivier Hétu

    Great patent, great feature, but I wouldn’t buy a phone specifically for that. Right now, their biggest concern is their software and their apps. Stop playing around and get into it.

  • Jay

    I think a lot of bar enthusiasts would like this feature. I still see lots of people pressing their phone to their ears harder and harder while trying to plug their other ear.

  • LC

    You people are losing sight of what the patent is for. Protection of intellectual property.

    Maybe it’s not a deal breaker for a phone not to have it. But if other manufacturers decide “hey, this is a good idea.. let’s use it too” then RIM gets to reap the licensing benefits which is just an added bonus.

    Anyway, if Apple came up with this idea I’m sure Ifans would be like “APPLE IS THE GREATEST INNOVATOR! THIS IS THE BEST IDEA SINCE SLICED BREAD! APPLE IS LEADING THE INDUSTRY ONCE AGAIN!” etc etc.

  • CBV

    I would benefit from this feature.

  • Ryan

    That’s a pretty neat idea.

  • mark

    Wonder if Apple has a patent for being granted patents, maybe they’ll sue RIM for this!

  • Kalo

    Neat idea but honestly it’s not a great selling point.

    I’m pretty sure once they implement this into the next blackberrys 89% of the people that use the blackberry probably wont even notice the feature

  • seant

    i think a better way is to monitor background noise through the mic to adjust volume. Did someone already implement this? If not, start sending the cheques my way!!

  • steven schwartz

    Don’t club the baby ear seals!

  • no1 u no

    Ifonez allreadi haz dat

    • BB King

      iPhone (get the spelling right…..i`m sure there’s an App for that haha) does NOT have this feature you tool.

  • Chris S

    Go RIM!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Big Hairy Richard

      You look g*y, give me a call

  • ehoustoun

    RIM. Still great at phone calls, still mediocre at everything else.