Tech companies are always coming up with strange, intriguing, and ridiculous ideas for future products but most of them never see the light of day. However, from time to time we get a glimpse at some of those projects via the US' patent office.

For example, Apple recently received approval for a patent that describes a "reversible" pair of headphones. If you're not sure what that means, Apple's idea aims to solve a small problem most of us have run into at least once - putting your headphones' left earcup over your right ear, and vice versa.

Apple's proposed headphones would be able to detect which ear each speaker is beaming audio to. The headphones would accomplish this through an array of microphones - when the left earcup is worn over the right ear, the first microphone will be located far away from your mouth. When it's worn correctly, though, a second microphone will be located closer to your mouth.

It's fairly complicated technology for such a simple issue, and one might even say it's overkill. After all, solving this annoyance is usually as easy as taking the headphones off and rotating them 180 degrees.

However, those with symmetrical headphones may not notice the problem right away so Apple's automated solution could be handy from time to time.

As long as this tech is cheap to implement, though, there's little reason Apple couldn't just throw it in a future pair of headphones anyway. However, it's worth noting that this patent's existence is not necessarily proof that it will ever turn into something real - all we can do is speculate.