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Adaptive ringer volume to surrounding noise level

asked 2014-02-07 03:48:11 +0300

Stefanix gravatar image

updated 2015-02-26 17:06:50 +0300

lakutalo gravatar image

Ring tone volume should adapt to surrounding noise level, also considering that the phone could be stored in a case.

How often have meetings been disturbed by phones ringing with max. volume? How often did you miss a call when outside and the volume was not adjusted to max.? An ascending alert tone could be one solution, but there might be missed calls if the ascending goes too slow. A quicker solution could be to listen to the noise level upon an incoming alert and decide about the ringer volume.

Edit: Let's not make it too complicated. :) This second part should be seen separately.

The only danger I see is if the phone is not close to you. E.g. at home the phone lies in another room and rings with low volume because its quiet there. Anyway, the phone should know when it's home, based on WLAN, GPS, or cell IDs. This home status could be used by various apps, e.g. to relax security requirements like unlock code or lock timeout. In this example, the ringing volume could be fixed to a pre-determined volume because we know the environment.

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I like the idea to adapt the volume to the surrounding noise level. However I would prefer changing the volume only unidirectionally, i.e. never ring below a user-configured minimum volume, but increase volume for situations with excess environmental noise. It makes only limited sense to dictate a minimum, as elderly people often have to configure loud ringtones to hear them at all.

Alternatively, a configurable loudness delta between surrounding noise and ringtone would have to be provided.

marsch ( 2014-02-07 12:29:44 +0300 )edit

I got this idea today, but of course its not new, others had the same idea before. I found one potential problem browsing the net: If the phone is in the pocket, it might sense a quiet environment and ring with low volume, although it should ring loud. Not sure if this is a real problem. There should be low frequency movement noise (fabric friction) and environment noise gets through partially. Certainly a different acoustic pattern than lying on the desk in a quiet room. What do you think?

Stefanix ( 2014-02-07 13:14:12 +0300 )edit

@Stefanix: I think this problem could be solved as proposed in my answer.

lakutalo ( 2015-02-22 19:04:22 +0300 )edit

I really like the idea! Great! But I would like to see it combined with ascending alert volume to solve the problem when you are far away from the phone. IMO it's too complicated to set up locations etc. as proposed in the question. Easy way is: If it's quiet start quiet and get louder. If it's loud, start loud. And I'd like if the phone would start with vibration before ringin when it's quiet and vibration is set to 'on'.

Yo ( 2015-02-24 17:09:35 +0300 )edit

Still you may encounter a phone stored in the pocket and thus the speaker covered. In this case it could already start at high volume. So that's the idea, combine all three methods.

lakutalo ( 2015-02-24 17:15:36 +0300 )edit

3 Answers

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answered 2015-02-22 19:03:01 +0300

lakutalo gravatar image

updated 2015-05-28 22:11:21 +0300

Detection of covered speaker by setting off and receiving a feedback tick

To solve the problem of a covered speaker I would like to propose a method of adapting the ring tone volume by utilising and recording a self-induced feedback tick.

In this thread there are two suggestions to be found on how to avoid missing calls due to high surrounding noise. The easy solution is to steadily raise the volume. I personally do not like this because it may be annoying for others, for instance if you leave your phone on the desk unintentionally.

The more sophisticated method is to adapt the volume to surrounding noise by recording it and adjusting the ring tone volume to it. As mentioned, this may work as long as the phone is not stored in a pocket, where surrounding noise is more or less insulated which makes the phone believe that the surroundings are quiet.

My proposal additionally to the one previously mentioned is to set off one or two ultra-short not too loud ticks previous to the ring tone, in a frequency near to the microphone's sensitivity maximum, uniquely shaped and long enough to be easily identified by the phone. To be illustrative, just think of a submarine's ping. By instantaneously recording this ping, the phone could e.g. find out if the speaker is covered or not and raise the volume, and at a later stage maybe also increase vibration strength.

Eventually, this method could be used to explore the environment and the prevailing noise to also shape the tone to fit e.g. to reflective walls in a narrow room or avoid certain frequencies. But maybe that's too far off for now. :)

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What an idea, phone pinging itself :) I'd just <3 a phone ringing louder in a pocket that on a table. To expand your already great idea slightly: If the speaker is good enough to play, and mic good enough to receive a high pitch tick, this could also be done with a sound not audible by most of the users (in the range above 15kHz) for the pocket case, but to be able to detect possible noise in the surrounding, it should be a multi-freq tick (especially in the frequency range of the ringtone itself)

simo ( 2015-02-23 09:50:21 +0300 )edit

High frequency may be good for avoiding resonances of the case or sound conducting by itself but I am not sure if the mic is sensitive enough in these ranges. I'd really like to get hands on right now. Time is but a scarce good.

lakutalo ( 2015-02-23 21:18:27 +0300 )edit

Even better than a random ping would be monitoring the ringtone itself. The ringtone starts playing, the microphone listens and gradually increases the volume until it can recognize the ringtone with so and so many decibels above the background noise. It may require some advanced sound processing.

pichlo ( 2015-02-28 09:29:38 +0300 )edit

@pichlo Maybe convert that to an answer?

simo ( 2015-02-28 09:36:05 +0300 )edit

@pichlo: Good suggestion, but I see one little problem there. I think that the different user dependent ring tones would make it difficult to rely on a pattern or sound shape which is needed for detection of the near environment, excluding feedback from resonances or sound conducting by the the phone's frame. Btw, the preceding noise was not meant to be random. Would be fun to start the experimental part of prototyping now, together. :)

lakutalo ( 2015-02-28 09:49:54 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-01-28 12:13:11 +0300

Jolly-Jo gravatar image

updated 2015-01-28 12:15:55 +0300

Have you tried the Situations app from the Jolla store? It can adjust, among many others, ring tone volume based on, e.g. WiFi connection, cell ID, etc. Sounds like it's just what you need. One year too late, but still, it got there :-)

Maybe this case could be closed?

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Situations would not cover noise level, though, if following a more general and independent approach.

lakutalo ( 2015-01-28 12:39:10 +0300 )edit

The second part of the question sounds like he doesn't maybe himself want the automatic noise level regulation.

The only danger I see is if the phone is not close to you. E.g. at home the phone lies in another room and rings with low volume because its quiet there. Anyway, the phone should know when it's home, based on WLAN, GPS, or cell IDs.

Jolly-Jo ( 2015-01-28 12:52:33 +0300 )edit

In this case I would create a new question. Wanted to avoid a duplicate.

lakutalo ( 2015-01-28 12:59:33 +0300 )edit

Well, based on @Stefanix' Edit part of the question, I think it would be a good idea to create a separate question. You could put the link here so other people will find it easily when searching.

Jolly-Jo ( 2015-01-28 13:14:47 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-01-29 01:27:23 +0300

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2015-01-29 01:27:23 +0300

pan tau gravatar image

increasing ring volume option with maximum limit from defaut ring volume - like classic symbian all the time. is way better than activate microphone (while ringing starts??) and detect surrounding noise.

if there is increasing volume , you pick up or reject phone on meeting without making disco with your ringtone and on the other hand outdoor or on the disco, you will hear it too :) no needs to adjust volume ( my own practice sience symbian got that feature :P )

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Well, I think that is a different case and it'd be probably best to open a new question for that (or check if someone else has done that already)

Jolly-Jo ( 2015-01-29 10:24:11 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2014-02-07 03:48:11 +0300

Seen: 1,420 times

Last updated: May 28 '15