An accompanying app knows exactly what sound is being produced, and by comparing that to what the microphone ends up hearing, the Acoustrement can determine how a user is interacting with the device. The accessory could be as simple as a button that serves as a snooze button, or a wheel that changes settings like a dial, or a full-on smartphone case that knows when the device is sitting on a table, being held, or even squeezed like a camera.


And because it doesn’t actually draw any power from the device (besides the constant ultrasonic tone being produced) this added functionality doesn’t hinder a smartphone’s already limited battery life. So eventually it could be implemented directly into a device’s housing, adding more buttons or ways to interact with a smartphone, without any negative consequences. [Disney Research]