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Hardware Technology

Sony Ericsson Develops Contact Headphones 173

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the sounds-like-another-point-of-failure dept.
TechnologyResource writes "Sony Ericsson has just introduced the MH907 headphones. The headphones will pause or play your music based on contact; eliminating the use of a pause or stop button. Removing one ear bud will pause the music. Removing both ear buds will stop the music. Both ear buds have to be in your ear to play the music. According to Sony Ericsson, this will allow you to 'play your music and answer phone calls just by inserting the buds into your ear or taking them out.'"
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Sony Ericsson Develops Contact Headphones

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  • by JSBiff (87824) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:32PM (#29495297) Journal

    What if you're missing one ear?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:37PM (#29495355)

      I'm sure you can stick the second ear bud somewhere else. ...perhaps in the ear of your scantily clad model?

      • by vlm (69642)

        I'm sure you can stick the second ear bud somewhere else. ...perhaps in the ear of your scantily clad model?

        Based on your comment, I had high hopes before I clicked on the article. What I saw in the article wasn't quite what you implied I'd see, although that is quite the plunging neckline on that gentleman's shirt.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ambvai (1106941)

      Simple: Insert one into a similarly sized cavity within reach of the cord. I recommend a nostril.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      nonsense, ears can be grown off of skinless rats now remember? and if you cant afford the procedure, you probably shouldn't be forking out cash for expensive earphones that make life slightly more convenient
    • Re:Van Gogh. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:07PM (#29495753)

      This is a better question than the mods seem to appreciate. They deny you the ability to listen with only one ear, while keeping in touch with the outside world with the other.

      • Re:Van Gogh. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DigitalPasture (1545473) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:29PM (#29496091)
        If that's the case then these probably aren't the headphones for you.
        • by Fozzyuw (950608)

          No doubt, no doubt. But I'm still scratching my head as to the usefulness of this "technology". Was there some sort of market that was demanding that music should only be played if both buds are in the ear?

          I say this as I have 1 ear-bud in at work, so if a co-worker calls my name I can answer them. Yet, when I'm at the gym, I'm more than happy to have them both in.

          Point being, what's the point? All things being equal, these ear buds are less flexible than normal headphones and will probably be significa

        • Besides, we lost touch with the outside world back in high school.
      • I doubt they'll criminalize regular headphones. I also doubt they'll catch on or gain a significant market share.
  • What if...? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mackil (668039)
    Great idea, but what if you listen to music with only one ear? I work in an office environment where people regularly interrupt my coding work. As a result, I have taken the habit of listening to my music with only one ear bud. That way I can hear whenever someone is trying to get my attention, but can still listen to my alternative rock to my heart's content.
    • Re:What if...? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:36PM (#29495339)

      How about you and Van Gogh buy some other earphones? Or do they have to get your personal approval on this one?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Estragib (945821)
        You'd be right it the first sentence of TFA didn't read, "Sony Ericsson may soon make the play button a thing of the past with its new motion-controlled earbuds." With a claim like that, this kind of critical response to the arcticle is to be expected and justified.
        • We all know that's just sensationalist journalism at its finest. Acting like Sony is out to spite the one-eared music lovers of the world is completely dishonest when only faced with such a ridiculous, Google-surfer-eye-catching quote.
      • He isn't the only one who regularly puts in one headphone all the time. I do too, and based on all the other posters, they do too.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MBGMorden (803437)

          That's great, but that doesn't mean that these aren't useful. 10% of the population is left handed. Some devices are built specifically for right handed people. The solution for them isn't to complain that such devices exist, but rather to buy ambidextrous or left-hand specific items. Anyone who thinks that an item is poorly designed simply because it doesn't meet their specific criteria is just being naive.

    • Re:What if...? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:37PM (#29495349)
      I realize this is a tough one to figure out, but the solution is to not buy these headphones.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I realise you may not be very smart, but realizing that when music is paused, you don't need any ear buds at all isn't too hard either. You usually stop the music only once, so the "removing both earbuds" functionality is completely useless - might as well make that the pause 'button'.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The idea is that if you're let's say a jogger... you jog down the street with your headphones on... then you run into your friend Mary. You stop to talk and like many other people, you remove one headphone so that you can converse rather than yell at each other. This makes this frequent gesture better by pausing the music for you.

          Is this necessary for everyone in every circumstance? No. But is it worth it to someone? Yes, I'm sure it is.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Why stop the music? I'm perfectly capable of listening to music in one ear, and pretending I'm listening to Mary with the other.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jurily (900488)

            This makes this frequent gesture better by pausing the music for you.

            I believe the correct solution is to allow a one-ear mode, and to retain the functionality of the pause/play button at all times. Insert two, remove one: playback stops. Insert only one: playback starts.

            Nobody gets to tell me how many ears to use for listening to music, tyvm.

          • by shentino (1139071)

            Then they should put in a button/switch that allows you to control the autopause behavior, yes?

      • They only work with special SONY-only proprietary connectors and mp3 players. I'm sure this will trigger a sea change of people dumping their iPods and iPhones and switching to SONY.

        Or maybe not.

      • I thought it was sad that you had to post this response to begin with. I was wrong. The really sad part is that you were modded insightful on this one. I would have thought that any reasonable person would be able to figure out that they shouldn't buy a product if it doesn't pertain to them, and that not every product is useful for every person.

        Honestly, even if you(not you in particular, but you in general) don't like these particular headphones, just the technology that they bring about is interesting. Ma

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by blakelarson (1486631)
      Easy -- just put both ear buds in one ear!
    • by mockchoi (678525)
      I do exactly the same thing. It can't be all that uncommon.
    • Wrap some scotch tape around an earphone.

      Wait, was this technology supposed to make things more convenient?

      • by karnal (22275)

        Do this to a coworker's phone (earpiece works best; microphone just pisses off the other party) and watch.

    • I think this technology works best if it can be disabled sometimes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912)
      Ideally there would be a setting in software.
    • Is it a great idea? Are people really that lazy that they would buy specialized devices just so they don't have to hit a button? Does that make it easier? I realize that developing new technologies is a good thing, but you're really trying to sell me earphones I have to take out of my ears and then reinsert (but only one!) in order to answer a call? I wonder if you can change the volume based on the pressure that you shove them into your ears with...
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Are people really that lazy that they would buy specialized devices just so they don't have to hit a button?

        Are you really that lazy that you would buy a specialized device to spin the CD instead of manually rotating it by hand?

      • by mackil (668039)
        I think it's an interesting idea, and certainly headed in the right direction. Having had one of the early mp3 players back in the day, it was a relief to deal with the iPod just because of the simplicity of the interface.

        What we really need is a 'mouse gesture' like control for your headphones. That way the user could customize their controls to whatever they wanted. Now THAT is something I would buy... but then that would probably prove too complicated for the average user. Never know though...
    • by NoYob (1630681)

      Great idea, but what if you listen to music with only one ear? I work in an office environment where people regularly interrupt my coding work. As a result, I have taken the habit of listening to my music with only one ear bud. That way I can hear whenever someone is trying to get my attention, but can still listen to my alternative rock to my heart's content.

      You can concentrate on what you're doing when you listen to music?

      When I tried that once, my attention alternates between the music, what I'm doing while tuning out the music, to not paying attention to anything, and just being distracted. What I'm saying is, I can't do it and be productive - and I'm also saying that I don't think anyone else can either.

      • You mean well, but you must not know of a couple techniques.

        The AC below you had the clue to your puzzle - it's listening to the other people that sinks everything.

        If someone authorizes you to work in a bloc because Something Must Get Done, you can then tap the music to boost your productivity.
        My productivity goes up some 20-25% doing that.

        The thing is - for me at least it works precisely and only on songs you like and know extremely well.

      • by tftp (111690)

        What I'm saying is, I can't do it and be productive - and I'm also saying that I don't think anyone else can either.

        There are people who require complete silence to think. You are one of them, as it seems, and so am I. However there are people who perform best in a loud, noisy environment. I do not know why it is so, but some of my coworkers are such people - if they are at their desks they have headphones on. I guess that would be an interesting question for scientists.

        I personally find the music a di

    • by oh_bugger (906574)
      I'm a developer and I listen to music at work too. But I use it to help me ignore my coworkers. They think twice about bothering me if I have my earphones in. They try to figure it out for themselves for a change!
    • Maybe after enough people complaining a firmware update that lets you setup what the reaction to triggers will be. I mean if it is written well, it should be object oriented enough to allow for this with little effort. It is silly how much software is written that could be improved by letting the user have more access to preferences to configure the software to their specific situation. Of course there can always be a default for those that are to busy to fiddle.
    • by vertinox (846076)

      Great idea, but what if you listen to music with only one ear? I work in an office environment where people regularly interrupt my coding work.

      Simple. Stick the unused earbud into your coworkers ear.

      Not only will you continue to listen to your music, but your coworkers will think twice about asking you a question next time.

    • Great idea, but what if you listen to music with only one ear?

      I'm guessing that a piece of Scotch tape wrapped around the bud that's not in your ear will do the trick.

    • by Wowsers (1151731)

      If you listen to music with one ear, then Sony assumes you are a pirate who is letting the music be shared with your friends, so they stop the music playback. It is thus their latest attempt at DRM. You can only listen to music yourself, not with your friends!

    • by vaporland (713337)
      share the other earbud with your next-door cubicle dweller...
  • "this will allow you to 'play your music and answer phone calls just by inserting the buds into your ear or taking them out"

    Sounds more awkward than pressing a button on the phone in my opinion, but if you're driving or you can't otherwise get at the device it could be useful. Or if you have ears that aren't just right for in-ear 'phones, which keep falling out as a result.

    However what's wrong with a clicker on the cable?

    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:46PM (#29495483)
      ...but if you're driving...

      You shouldn't have plugs in both ears. Illegal in most places. Dangerous in all places.

      Oh, and put the phone down. You're driving.
      • The really silly things about laws against wearing ear plugs in a car is that it is perfectly legal to have the car stereo turned up so loud, that you can't even hear a fog horn being used in seat next to you.

        At most you'll be risking a fine for noise pollution, not reckless driving

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by defaria (741527)
        Quite frankly BULLSHIT! Having music playing in your earbuds is no more or less distracting than playing the radio loudly. In both cases you can hear the music very well and other things not so well. If you are gonna outlaw earbuds then you must outlaw stereos.
      • by nloop (665733)
        That law has never made sense to me. You are allowed to drive with loud music and the windows up, but not headphones? It's pretty much the same thing.

        Also, Deaf people can drive.

        I'm not arguing Deaf people shouldn't drive, I'm saying headphones should be allowed. My stereo doesn't have an aux in port, I have to.
        • by adolf (21054)

          That law has never made sense to me. You are allowed to drive with loud music and the windows up, but not headphones? It's pretty much the same thing.

          Also, Deaf people can drive.

          That deaf people can drive does not mean that drivers should deafen themselves while driving.

    • by mrisaacs (59875)

      I don't know about local driving rules where you are, but in NY State it's illegal to drive w/o having one ear "free" - so not a good solution for driving.

      An no, I don't think this is more convenient than a button either.

    • if you're driving... ... and you have headphones in, you have bigger problems than fucking around with buttons, namely that you're an idiot.

      Seriously, what makes people think that deafening themselves while operating a multi-ton vehicle at high speeds is a good idea?

      (Feel the same way about overly loud music in cars. My lawn; you're on it.)

  • I usualy walk with only one earbud inside my head. Not getting hit by car, is always better then stereo sound. For me this means the headphones will not work. This feature belongs in rubbish bin, as far as I am concerned.
  • Good Idea... (Score:2, Interesting)

    so long as it works properly. Many times I take my headphones off to order food, talk to a bank teller, etc and then three hours later, I find it has been playing the entire time. This will do wonders for battery life...

    But what is more likely to happen is the contact mechanism will wear out in six months and it will be difficult to get them to play at all...

    • by fulldecent (598482) on Monday September 21, 2009 @04:14PM (#29495875) Homepage

      but considering this is Sony, it is very likely that the headphones will overheat and explode in your ear, cause a commotion at a UN meeting, install a rootkit on anything you insert it in, and lose a format war with something else on the market.

      • but considering this is Sony, it is very likely that the headphones will overheat and explode in your ear, cause a commotion at a UN meeting, install a rootkit on anything you insert it in

        Including your ears.

        (Sadly, I'm sure the DRM-happy loons would root our ears if they could, so we can't hear people singing "Happy Birthday" unless they've paid the performance fee.)

    • It might if they don't use power the whole time. Oh, wait...

  • weak sauce. (Score:5, Informative)

    by superdana (1211758) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:37PM (#29495361)
    The MH907 is only compatible with Sony Ericsson's own Fast Port-equipped phones -- Fast Port is SE's proprietary connector on the bottom of its phones.

    Fail.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dyingtolive (1393037)
      Makes sense. How else would you notify the device playing music that you wish for the music to stop?

      As an aside, I'm not sure about iPods, but the Zune will automatically pause music if the headphones have been removed. You could make an analogue to this technology by implementing something similar to that in an ordinary mp3/cd player and having a cutoff switch for the circuit in the ear piece (or on the cord, or wherever), and just trip it when appropriate. Resuming play automatically would be a tric
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        As an aside, I'm not sure about iPods, but the Zune will automatically pause music if the headphones have been removed. You could make an analogue to this technology by implementing something similar to that in an ordinary mp3/cd player and having a cutoff switch for the circuit in the ear piece (or on the cord, or wherever), and just trip it when appropriate. Resuming play automatically would be a trick, but then again, honestly how lazy are we?

        iPods have been doing this since long before the first Zune
      • by iamhigh (1252742)

        How else would you notify the device playing music that you wish for the music to stop?

        Well there has to be a full circuit... Simple switch that is always on when it has pressure, such as being jammed in your ear; when removed from the pressure the contact is broken and so is the circuit.

    • by Thuktun (221615)

      The MH907 is only compatible with Sony Ericsson's own Fast Port-equipped phones -- Fast Port is SE's proprietary connector on the bottom of its phones.

      Fail.

      How, pray tell, would you expect them to do this with current, standard headphones? It's possible you're referring to their lack of a standard connector like USB, in which case you might have a point.

      Sadly, nuance like that is apparently not conveyable in 4chan-speak.

  • Useless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cl0s (1322587) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:41PM (#29495415)
    Ehh... When my phone rings, the music just pauses itself. But then again my phone is also my MP3 player. Useless... to me at least.
  • According to Sony Ericsson, this will allow you to 'play your music and answer phone calls just by inserting the buds into your ear or taking them out'

    So you can listen to music with both earphones, but only listen to a telephone conversation piped through one earphone as you had to remove the other to pause the music ? And what happens if the person calling you puts you on one of those annoying musical hold things ?

    It's bad enough they sneak in rootkits, now they're sneaking in paradoxes.

    • by bcmm (768152)

      It's bad enough they sneak in rootkits, now they're sneaking in paradoxes.

      They're obviously developing a new rootkit that is totally undetectable because it both is and isn't there.

  • I hope they built them in a way, that will avoid them switching on, while touching anything while not being in your ear. Like dangling on your chest, touching your arm or something hanging in front of you, etc.
    Oh, and please let them also not use energy to detect touches, because else even non-triggering touches could use up your batteries.

    • I assume it would be a button on the edge of the earbud or the cushion of the headphone that gets indented when you are wearing them. Seems simple enough to me.
  • by sandymac (983782) on Monday September 21, 2009 @03:58PM (#29495639) Homepage
    My first iPod showed me that there is no reason to distinguish between the concept of pause or the concept of stop. For some type of media devices it makes sense to have an off button but for many devices even that can be combined in with the pause button.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      Stop has always just meant pause or at most pause and go back. I think the last time I was something different than that would be.... VHS? Pause resulted in ugly lines. So ... unless iPod was released in the early 90s I really think you are giving credit for no reason.
  • I'm lucky enough to have a policy at work that allows me to both bring my iPod in to work with me, as well as listen to it while working so long as I keep it reasonably quiet. I frequently (always?) use the "one bud in, one bud out" method so that I don't miss important things like actual conversations with co-workers. For people like me who use this listening style, this would be pointless. Surely they've considered this and have an option to alter the pause mechanics?
    • Surely they've considered this and have an option to alter the pause mechanics?

      Yes. It's called "Buy some other headphones(TM)"
      • This seems to be the popular trend throughout the thread - this is all fine and dandy. In fact, for someone like me, they don't even care as the brand of hardware I use isn't compatible with their headphones to begin with. Point being - if I'm a well known brand like Sony, I don't want to spend all this R&D and marketing towards something new and great, and have my closing line be "Hey go buy something else!". I'm not complaining about the headphones - like I said I wouldn't ever have the chance to us
    • I'm lucky enough to have a policy at work that allows me to both bring my iPod in to work with me, as well as listen to it while working so long as I keep it reasonably quiet./

      I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she's filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I'm collating so I don't see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable v

  • So what happens when you want to hear the phone call, but haven't got the headphones in your ear? I'm guessing you have to use it against your head, like a phone? Whats the point then?
  • What if you put them in the nose?
  • Since when did Slashdot be a resting place for crap, gimmicky rubbish?

  • Isn't this just an ad? Seriously, this isn't even slightly innovative. How may MP3 players come with a set of controls on the cord? How is this any better?
  • Worker 1: Dude, I got this new phone, but the MP3 player doesn't work.

    Worker 2: Stick it in your ear.

    Worker 1: WTF? You stick it in your ear! Jerk.

  • They could get ear buds that actually fit my ears.
  • TFA doesn't call it that and neither should Slashdot. A "contact headphone" implies a speaker system which uses direct contact with a surface to reproduce sound, just like a contact microphone [wikipedia.org] records sound through direct contact with a surface, instead of using the air as a carrier.

    Obviously what SE has done here has nothing to do with the actual speaker system, but just adds a motion detector to a regular headphone, which of course only works through a closed and proprietary interface which of course can

  • How about a toilet that when it detects shit it tells you it's time to wipe?
    • by cheros (223479)

      Just mod a Japanese toilet, as soon as it detects "remnants" it should switch to powerjet. Also teaches you to never do that again..

  • by adolf (21054)

    just testing:

    ecode

    1
      2
      3

    pre

    1
      2
        3

    thx

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