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1. WO2011001012 - CONTROLLABLE ACOUSTIC TRANSDUCER

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

CLAIMS:

1. An apparatus comprising:

an acoustic transducer; and

a sound channel coupled to the acoustic transducer, the sound channel comprising an element having a shape that is electrically controllable;

wherein the shape of the element is electrically controllable to change the acoustic properties of the sound channel.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 , further comprising a controller configured to control the shape of the element.

3. The apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the element is formed of an

electroactive polymer.

4. The apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the shape of the element is electrically controllable between a first shape, in which the sound channel is open, and a second shape, in which the sound channel is blocked.

5. The apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the apparatus comprises an audio output and/or input device, and wherein changing the acoustic properties of the sound channel comprises changing the frequency response of the audio output and/or input device.

6. The apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the acoustic transducer comprises a microphone.

7. The apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the acoustic transducer comprises a speaker.

8. The apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising a processor configured to decode audio data for the transducer using one of at least two audio codecs;

wherein the controller is operable to control the shape of the element in dependence on the audio codec used to decode the audio data.

9. The apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the apparatus comprises two sound channels coupled to the microphone and configured to provide directional operation of the microphone;

wherein the element is electrically controllable to block one of said sound channels to thereby cause the microphone to operate as an omni-directional microphone.

10. The apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the apparatus comprises a microphone array of at least two microphones, each microphone coupled to a respective sound channel, the microphone array is configured to provide directional operation;

wherein the element is electrically controllable to block one of said sound channels to thereby cause the microphone array to operate as an omni-directional microphone.

1 1. The apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein said at least one sound channel is coupled to a sound cavity.

12. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the transducer comprises a speaker, the apparatus further comprising a microphone located adjacent to the speaker, said controller coupled to the microphone and configured to control the shape of the element in dependence upon a signal generated by the microphone.

13. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the transducer comprises a

microphone, said controller configured to control the shape of the element in dependence on a saturation level of the microphone.

14. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said element is controllable to form a water tight seal within the sound channel, said controller configured to control the shape of the element to seal the sound channel when a risk of water entering the sound channel is detected.

15. An electronic device comprising the apparatus of claim 1.

16. A method comprising:

in an apparatus comprising an acoustic transducer, and a sound channel coupled to the acoustic transducer, providing an element within the sound channel, the element having a shape that is electrically controllable; and

electrically controlling the shape of the element to thereby change the acoustic properties of the channel.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the element comprises an electroactive polymer.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein electrically controlling the shape of the element comprises electrically controlling the shape of the element between a first shape, in which the sound channel is open, and a second shape, in which the sound channel is blocked.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein the apparatus comprises an audio output and/or input device, and wherein electronically controlling the shape of the element comprises changing the frequency response of the audio output and/or input device.

20. The method of claim 16, wherein the acoustic transducer comprises a microphone.

21. The method of claim 16, wherein the acoustic transducer comprises a speaker.

22. The method of claim 16 further comprising:

decoding audio data for the transducer using one of at least two audio codecs; and electronically controlling the shape of the element in dependence on the audio codec used to decode the audio data.

23. The method of claim 20, wherein the apparatus comprises two sound channels coupled to the microphone and configured to provide directional operation of the

microphone, wherein electronically controlling the shape of the element comprises electronically controlling the shape of the element to block one of said channels to thereby cause the microphone to operate as an omni-directional microphone.

24. The method of claim 20, wherein the apparatus comprises a microphone array of at least two microphones, each microphone coupled to a respective sound channel, the microphone array configured to provide directional operation, wherein electronically controlling the shape of the element comprises electronically controlling the shape of the element to block one of said channels to thereby cause the microphone array to operate as an omni-directional microphone.

25. The method of claim 21 , wherein the apparatus further comprises a microphone located adjacent to the speaker, said method further comprising electrically controlling the shape of the element in dependence upon a signal generated by the microphone.

26. The method of claim 20 further comprising electrically controlling the shape of the element in dependence on a saturation level of the microphone.

27. The method of claim 16 further comprising electrically controlling the element to form a water tight seal within the sound channel based on detection of a risk of water entering the sound channel.

28. A computer readable storage medium encoded with instructions that, if executed by a computer, perform a process, the process comprising:

in an apparatus comprising an acoustic transducer, and a sound channel coupled to the acoustic transducer, the sound channel comprising an element having a shape that is electrically controllable, electrically controlling the shape of the element to thereby change the acoustic properties of the channel.