Google has filed a new patent for an “interactive cord” that is designed to allow users to control their devices by touching certain areas of the cord, eliminating the need for buttons and sliders. CB Insights Researchers reported that they believe the cord will also be used to increase data security by providing an alternative for voice control.
“It has the potential to shake up user authentication methods, which often rely on the use of passwords. A touch-enabled cord could enable verification that goes beyond typing in passwords and the use of methods like facial recognition or Touch ID,” CB Insights reported earlier this month.
The structure of the cord includes a cable encased in a fabric cover. The cover is designed to contain conductive threads woven into the fabric to create touchpoints that sense the voltage of a finger. It is also designed to sense a variety of contact, such as swipes and taps.
The cord will have similar functions to existing headphones, such as the ability to pause and play music, and control volume. The difference between existing headphones and this cord is the new design doesn’t possess any buttons or sliders that often break due to sweat and dirt from skin.
But the most unique feature of the cord is the potential for user authentication.
“A wide array of touch patterns can be used,” CB Insights reported, “including tapping out a rhythm, touching specific or relative locations, applying varying amounts of pressure on the fabric cover, sliding down the cord, or manipulating the cord so one section touches another – to authenticate users on devices.”
Google stated in the patent that this design is “less likely to be compromised by adversaries and those with malicious intent,” due to the fact that a pattern is harder to duplicate than a code.
The only issue with this design is the cord is attached to headphones, but most headphones today are wireless. It is interesting that Google has designed a cord during a time when cords are being cut and abandoned.
I am sure Google considered the wireless trend when designing their interactive cord, which is very intriguing from a technology standpoint. I believe there is more to this cord than CB Insights is reporting, and I am interested to see what Google uses it for.
The cord could be essential for travel, considering it isn’t ideal to use verbal commands in public. The cord could also be used for emergency situations when users are unable to speak.
It is obvious the patent has raised a lot of questions, and overall anticipation for the technology’s release.
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