#PMChallenge Built-in Active Noise Control (cancelling) using phone's and earphone's mics.

  1. Antoine L
    Gingerbread Feb 6, 2019

    Antoine L , Feb 6, 2019 :
    Dear OnePlus users, dear development team,
    As you may know, Active Noise Control (ANC) is becoming more and more popular these days. The brand-new Bose QC35 or Sony MDR-1000X are one representative of this technology. Smaller and cheaper earpieces such as the Xiaomi ANC earpieces also propose this feature. It basically works by using a set of mics that capture exteriors surrounding sounds, the sound system then generates a complementary wave through the headset, in a very short time, so that the user can hear it at almost the same time as the "outside" noise. The addition of the exterior noise and the wave produced by the headset results in a flat wave, aka silence and therefore, the user can fully enjoy his music, video or movie while walking, during a plane ride or while seating in an airplane.

    Although this sounds awesome, most of earpieces are not equipped with ANC.

    There comes my PMChallenge proposition: a built-in ANC in Oxygen OS that will simply use the phone mics to probe outside surrounding noises.

    Even though the quality of the signal treatment might not be as good as a real top quality ANC-headset, this feature equipping OP devices might be a breakthrough as no other phone manufacturer proposes it yet. It might also be very useful for people casually listening to music that want to have a slightly better experience without spending hundreds of euros in an expensive headset. Note that the device battery might last lesser. This feature is a bonus for ears health: Cancelling disturbing noises allows the users to lower their headset volume as outside noises do not need to be covered anymore.

    More detailed explanations are available online, see there for Wikipedia's page regarding this feature.

    Following down, the product requirements document:

    Who are the users?
    Any user who is casually listening to music on his daily commute to work. Any user that is casually listening to music or watching movies in planes, trains or in any noisy environment looking for a cheap alternative to a much more expensive headset.
    Any user looking for a built-in feature that will allow him to keep his favourite pair of earphones.

    What is the proposed function?
    The user pulls down the notification shade, a quick toggle allows him to toggle ANC on or off in a similar behaviour as for the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth toggles.
    A long press on this button brings the user to the parameter’s menu dedicated to ANC (details below) where animations as well as info and warnings about the feature are displayed.

    What is the user value?
    Everyone would benefit from such a feature, all plane or train journeys will be quieter, and people would be able to enjoy their music or films with a much more minor disturbance. A quieter outside noise would allow users to decrease the volume of their own headset resulting in a healthier ear sight.
    Even without listening to any music, enabling the feature could make some noisy place a much quieter one by just "producing silence".

    If there are existing comparable functions in the smartphone industry, how is your proposed feature superior?
    According to my research, this feature is not implemented in any other brand's smartphone. OnePlus users would enjoy the privilege of this feature.

    What are the cons of such a feature?
    Mostly on the battery life, although the impact should not be too big as the phone is already sending a signal (the music or film audio) to the earpieces. This feature used while walking in a busy traffic area could be more dangerous than a regular earpiece as outside noises may be much lower than before.
    The quality of the ANC might not be good enough as phones are often stored in jackets or trousers pockets. Therefore, real life testing and maybe AI improvement should be conducted.
    Privacy might concern some users as the use of this feature requires the phone to "listen" to what is going on around it. Although terms and conditions should overcome this issue. Also, people enabling the feature are most likely to be listening to medias on their own without the issue of sharing private information out loud.

    Is it hard to implement?
    The technology is very similar to what is already used to cancel surrounding noise during a phone call. The only thing that needs to be tested is if a phone carried in a pocket would capture enough of the outside noises with only its two mics. The use of earpieces mic data (for those being equipped such as OP Bullet V2) might be mandatory.

    Following, some sketches and screenshots explaining the UI.
    Pulling the notification shade to access the quick panel: Screenshot_20190206-160916.jpg

    A quick proposition for the design of the toggle button: toggle.jpg (it represents a huge noise being damped).
    The parameters menu that can be accessed by long pressing the toggle (it can also be accessed through parameters/sounds/ANC)

    What the parameter shade can looks like (inspired from the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi parameters tab Screenshot_20190206-170847.jpg )
    when ANC OFF: off.jpg
    when ANC ON: on.jpg

    An example of what could be the info and warning message: "Active Noise Control (ANC) is a feature that cancel surrounding noises allowing to enjoy a better listening experience, especially in noisy environment. It uses the outputs from both the phone and headset mics in order to produce a complementary sound. Casting it to the headset results in silence. The feature can reduce up to XX dB outside noise in the range of XX to XX Hz. Over 80 dB, sound is harmful for inner ear. Before using this feature, please make sure to connect your earphones. Do not activate the feature while walking in dangerous working areas or traffic. Do not use while driving."

    I wish this feature to excite my fellow OP users as much as it does on me. Thank you for your attention.

    PS: English is not my first language, I apologize for any mistake in this post.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019

  2. nicofars
    Cupcake Feb 24, 2019

    nicofars , Feb 24, 2019 :
    Amazing work Antoine, well done and hopefully it may be considered or at least debated! I would love to see this

    Antoine L likes this.
  3. Antoine L
    Gingerbread Feb 24, 2019

    Antoine L , Feb 24, 2019 :
    thank you so much :)