Soon, Flying E-mails, Floating Mid-air Chats - The New Indian Express

Soon, Flying E-mails, Floating Mid-air Chats

Published: 31st January 2014 02:34 PM

Last Updated: 31st January 2014 02:34 PM

Enter this room to hear out emails, listen to your latest tweet or have a 'floating' chat with your friend on facebook - all by placing sound in the room exactly where you want it to be!

Sounds unreal! Well, researchers at Technical University of Berlin in Germany don't think so.

Once in their 'BoomRoom', you don't need to wade through clogged emails or endless Twitter timelines.

Jorg Muller, a professor, has invented a more fun way of sifting through messages - sound.

In his audio-enabled space, 56 loud speakers direct sound to stationary and mobile positions in a space around you.

An array of 16 gesture-recognising cameras allow you to steer and control this audio - essentially creating an isolated cocoon of sound that only you can hear.

So emails and tweets fly around you like birds, each chirping a different sound that identifies the sender.

More urgent messages might buzz your scalp, said a report in NewScientist magazine.

Gesture recognition would allow users to 'touch' an email to open it and have a computer read it out loud.

While it comes to music, gestures such as moving your hands apart or bringing them together can alter qualities like volume, treble and bass.

“The instruments exist in mid-air so you can do your own sound mixing,” added Muller.

How does it function?

“The BoomRoom uses wave field synthesis (WFS) - a technique developed at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands that builds 3-D sound fields by using algorithms to either cancel or reinforce sound waves with constructive or destructive interference,” explained Muller, a professor specialising in human-computer interaction.

This allows sound to be placed at pinpoint locations.

Steering sound exactly where it is wanted is already catching on in several real-world applications.

“One day, it might even help create smart homes that can speak to their visually impaired owners,” Muller was quoted as saying.

A 'BoomRoom' could be used to create a more streamlined living space and reduce our reliance on so many gadgets.

The technology could also be a boon for gamers, the report added.

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