Auditory User Interfaces (I)

Often people ask me: Why do you research auditory interfaces? What are they good for? When I answer I feel a bit like a vegetarian who has to point out the obvious: visual interfaces are awesome (and very tasty - to stay in the metaphor), but there are drawbacks. For example when you want to interact with a visual interface in a situation that requires a lot of visual attention. Driving a car or just walking a busy street are some of these situations. Or let's say you have your mobile phone in your pocket and cannot see you graphical user interface (GUI). For some of these situations auditory user interfaces (AUI) offer an advantage over visual interfaces. Simple as that.

So what's an auditory interface like? Well, there are lots and lots of different interfaces. Mine use spatial sound which means I can position sound objects in 3D space around a users head. It sound just like real life. You can tell just by listening where a sound emitting source is positioned - like your dog barking (if you happen to have one) or the fan of your computer, which you haven't noticed until now.

If you'd like to read more about this, take a look at some of my projects over at Mobile auditory interfaces and in-vehicle interfaces might interest you.

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