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Multi-user Home Stereo

For people who have conflicting musical tastes, but live under the same roof
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Each listener wears a small pin that helps the stereo's computer track their locations within the house. Directional speakers are installed on turrets throughout the house, following each listener. Thus, each listener can set the stereo to play their own favorite music; each listener hears only their music. The music follows each listener as they move throughout that house.

To change tracks, adjust volume, and to perform other tasks wall controls can be installed in various rooms, directional microphones could receive voiced commands, or listeners could carry around their own remote.

spiraliii, Mar 05 2007

Mark Weiser's Ubiquitous computing website http://www.ubiq.com.../weiser/weiser.html
Much of what that tangent about badges at Xerox PARC is about goes back to research from the late Mark Weiser's group. [jutta, Mar 05 2007]

The audio spotlight http://www.holosonics.com/
You'll need some of these. Actually, lots of these. If they catch on they'll become cheap as the clever bits are all done in chips. [wagster, Mar 07 2007]

[link]






       Nice. Xerox EuroPARC had a IR-transponder badge system running for their employees in the 1980's which routed phonecalls to the phone nearest where you happened to be. So, wherever you were in the building, if the phone rung it was for you.
hippo, Mar 05 2007
  

       Ah, correct my if I am wrong, but the although the orignal PARC system allowed automatic call forwarding the user had to instigate the location update. The Olivetti Active Badge system had the automatic location update but a secretary to route calls to you. When the two systems were combined, the result would be a phone ring following users up and down corridors...
Jinbish, Mar 05 2007
  

       Very nice. I can just imagine a film scene with someone walking down a corridor with doors open. As they pass each door, the phone there begins to ring, and dies off as they approach the next one.   

       [spiii]: what would the stereo do if two conflicting people entered the same room?
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 05 2007
  

       [Jinbish] No the EuroPARC system that I saw automatically updated on the basis of information from the IR transponder badges everyone wore. Also, everthing in the building was videoed so one guy had combined the location data with the video data to automatically produce a record of his life at work - he could ask it "What was I doing last Wednesday afternoon?" and be told where he was and who he was with (all from the location detection) and shown a short video.
hippo, Mar 05 2007
  

       Wow. I hadn't realised that some of the older 'ubiquitous services' were quite so comprehensive.
Jinbish, Mar 05 2007
  

       //So, wherever you were in the building, if the phone rung it was for you.//   

       That's so cool.
theleopard, Mar 05 2007
  

       [Lights], I think the directional speakers can be tuned to such an extent that only their target can hear the music. Therefore, unless they stood really close together they shouldn't be able to hear the other's station.
theleopard, Mar 05 2007
  

       //So, wherever you were in the building, if the phone rung it was for you.// - I'd like the exact opposite of that - could call it "It's Never For You" - Major, Major style, from Catch 22.
xenzag, Mar 05 2007
  

       What would interest me is more research into detecting behaviour as a UI-usable communication. This would transcend mere presence and allow active arbitration depending what someone does and how they do it.
Ian Tindale, Mar 05 2007
  

       To be fair, there is a fair amount of research into using personal agents for user interaction, personalisation of content, and also content and service adaptation (that's modality of service, rather than just simple transcoding).
Jinbish, Mar 05 2007
  

       Mostly overt control, though. I'd find it interesting to be able to derive meaning from gestures, postures and the way people unconsciously 'strike attitudes' as a primary (but not the only) input channel. That'd give people the willies.
Ian Tindale, Mar 05 2007
  

       Wow. I thought you'd started talking a different language. Am I right in thinking that what [Ian] is suggesting is a live film-style sound track?
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 05 2007
  

       I think what Ian is suggesting is a computer that can tell how you're feeling (e.g. by looking at your facial expression) and uses that as input, same as it now uses typing or mouse movement. Some biofeedback games work like that (of course they use brain waves, not facial expressions) - the more you relax, the higher a balloon flies on screen, say.   

       (The first thing that came to my mind was to bring a big box of toy robots to a party that are programmed to walk towards angry people, and use them as a slow, mechanical halo.)
jutta, Mar 05 2007
  

       Hey! What happened to the pink bunnies Jutta?   

       Oh - are you suggesting that emotions / body language be used not just to change for example the music played, but to control the computer? eg. Happy = log on to HB... Sad = fire up Excel... Angry = fire up MSWord...
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 05 2007
  

       Well, it occurs to me (over the past year) that one crucial difference in user interface mechanisms between desktop computers and current televisions is that a sole person can operate either, but when more than one person tries to 'operate' a computer, it just about pretty much can't be done - you end up with one driver and a cluster of people verbally propelling from over their shoulder, and one or two also leaning over to fight over the mouse without even slightly touching the hand of whoever's currently holding it as it's passed from person to person (for that would indicate that they have feelings for each other, so we don't allow that). A television, on the other hand, is often watched by a group of people - families, flatmates and other drunks, friends even. Having a user interface that assumes one person is in charge probably won't work well, but having a user interface that can track groups and separate out the individuals, then further, derive semantic ontologies of gesture track metaphors that accompany language, might work better. Probably.
Ian Tindale, Mar 05 2007
  

       Oh! That's really interesting.   

       Humans are mostly single-focus input too. By using interfaces that truly listen to (or at least look at) everybody, the whole way groups of people make decisions could change. Like having an electronic hive mind.
jutta, Mar 05 2007
  

       //...then further, derive semantic ontologies of gesture track metaphors that accompany language, might work better. Probably.//   

       wow. I was with you till that bit. It is a nice idea, though: Post it. It would be interesting how it might be used to resolve conflict in an evolutionary approach. The interface would keep adapting to minimise the group "stress", taking note of their reactions to the previous change and determining the next change accordingly.
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 05 2007
  

       I see this interface illuminating all the participants with different coloured lights correllated to their degree of agreement or conflict. So, the two people illuminated with vivid red light disagree quite a bit with the guy illuminated with a yellow light. The guy illuminated in orange is sitting on the fence, and the guy illuminated with a very feeble white light is not really engaging enough in the interaction.This would allow participants instant feedback as to their perceived conformity with the group, liklihood of getting their own way, and who they should seek to get a consensus with.
hippo, Mar 05 2007
  

       //illuminating all the participants with different coloured lights//   

       That would be *brilliant*, especially if the lights disagreed with the verbal comments of the individuals.   

       "It's ok. I'm happy watching American Idol" **RED**
Jinbish, Mar 05 2007
  

       Jutta, I'm trying to understand how anything can have a true multi-focus input: Surely it only appears to be so because the machine can alternate it's focus at an incredibly fast rate? Like film, which appears to move because the still images change so fast. To have true multi-focus input you would need separate processors for each input - like a human having more than one brain, or at least fore-brain. Multi-taskers, similarly, are surely only efficient cache-ers of their input so that they appear to process more than one input simultaneously?
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 07 2007
  

       But a group of people aren't just more than one individual. There's interrelationships, which act as a separate and distinct dataset exclusive to any individual behaviour(s). Watching a lot of people sequentially very quickly won't necessarily inform you what's happening to the group unless you're looking for that information too.
Ian Tindale, Mar 07 2007
  

       //any idea about what "group output" is sought//   

       Yes. Pattern matching gestures.
If Dave holds his arms up and out... \_/ ,
Alice has arms up and pointing down /`' \
...
Jinbish, Mar 07 2007
  

       TheLightsAreOnBut, one example for (very simple) true hardware parallelism in groupware is a group "pong" game I've seen. Two halves of a room played against each other; users could make their half's paddle move up by turning a reflective card towards a camera that filmed the whole scene, illuminated by an infrared spotlight. The more light fell on the camera from one half the room, the higher that half's paddle moved.   

       But I don't think the "how" matters. Sequential scanning with quick task switching is fine, and I bet people who are good with groups do exactly that. The comment about people mostly being single-focus meant to talk about how it feels to us to converse with a group, not so much how it's implemented.   

       Ian, I like your comment and wished more system developers would heed it. But in a way, one reason we *need* so much group structure is because we can't talk to everybody at the same time.   

       A true groupware stereo might have individual outputs to the users, but try to lead the music choices of people in a room towards a common, synchronized center, at which point it can stop working so damn hard to track everybody and just turn on the speakers so people can dance!
jutta, Mar 07 2007
  

       I was thinking about posting a similar idea, except less considerate. More like speakers everywhere with something that detected your presence.   

       We know that some are not content to only play their music for themselves. People blast their sterios with the car windows down. You could have your own theme song to anounce your arrival like on wrestling programs. If it is not a single device that you drag around like an Ipod then is it not ment to share?   

       Now that I think about it though Lt_Frank is right Minority Report is probably the most reasonable except that it is only if ID is involuntary. People will only carry an identifier if it serves their purposes. Biometrics are not to the point that they can take involuntary data. I could beleive that public places filled with sound and visual would precede the comercially viable means for bussinesses to put it there for individualy dirrected advertisements. The Broadcast television model of entertainment/advertisement is probably the only way that bussinesses can get individual cooperation in narrowcast and make them invest in making your park an audio visual experience attuned to your whims.   

       "You've selected the song Crazy Train This song is brought to you by ABC brewing who reminds you to drink responsibly you crazy 21-30 demographic type person who blows a lot of money on our products"
MercuryNotMars, Mar 08 2007
  
      
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