If Jorg Muller has his way, managing your Tweet deck and cluttered inbox will simply involve perking up your ears, as emails, texts and tweets swirl around your head in a swarm of sound.
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Muller, a professor of human-computer interaction at the University of Berlin, has designed the "BoomRoom," an audio-enabled space equipped with 56 loud speakers that direct sound to stationary and mobile positions. An array of 16 gesture-recognizing cameras allow users to steer and control this audio, essentially creating an isolated cocoon of sound that only you can hear.
Muller envisions emails, texts and tweets - each with their own unique audio stamp to identify senders - fluttering around a user's head. More urgent messages might buzz your scalp. Gesture recognition would allow users to "touch" an email to open it and have a computer read it out loud.
The BoomRoom uses wave field synthesis (WFS), a technique developed at the Delft University of Technology that builds 3-D sound fields by using algorithms to either cancel or reinforce sound waves with constructive or destructive interference. This allows sound to be placed at pinpoint locations.