06408187 is referenced by 94 patents.
A method and apparatus are disclosed for automatically determining the behavior of a communications device based upon the likelihood that a user is within relatively close proximity to the communications device. The apparatus comprises one or more sensors, one or more behavioral mechanisms, and a behavior determining mechanism. The sensors (which may, for example, be mechanical, audio, heat, or motion sensors) provide indications as to the likelihood that a user is within relatively close proximity to the communications device. These indications are received by the behavior determining mechanism, and in response, the behavior determining mechanism determines, based upon the indications, one or more appropriate behaviors for the apparatus. The behavior determining mechanism then causes one or more of the behavioral mechanisms to carry out the appropriate behaviors. By taking into account the likelihood that a user is within relatively close proximity to the communications device, the apparatus of the present invention enables the communications device to adapt its behavior to conform to its immediate environment. Thus, for example, if a communications device is situated in a room in which a meeting is being conducted, it will not issue an audio alert in response to an incoming communication. Instead, it will issue an alternate alert, such as a visual alert or a vibrating alert, to avoid disrupting the meeting. This and many other applications are possible with the present invention.