A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Universal Whistling Machine - The Future Of Non-Verbal Communications
Canadian artists Marc Bohlen and J.T. Rinker want to change the way that you interact with your favorite electronic devices. Tired of tiny keyboards, poor speech recognition or incomprehensible interfaces? The Universal Whistling Machine is a step toward a non-verbal dialogue between man and machine. The device uses signal-processing to extract whistles from other sounds and exchange sounds with humans, each others and animals, building up a vocabulary of "phrases." Bohlen and Rinker shared a first prize award at the Art & Artificial Life International Competition in Madrid.
(From Bird Meets UWM 12mb)
On his website, Bohlen muses that whistling is a pre-verbal communcation form that is still in use in some parts of the world. The people of Gomera, in the Canary islands, use a whistling language to communicate between distant hilltops. He writes:
U.W.M is an investigation into the vexing problem of human-machine interface design. Whistling is much closer to the phoneme-less signal primitives compatible with digital machinery than the messy domain of spoken language. As opposed to pushing machines into engaging humans in spoken language, U.W.M. suggests we meet on a middle ground. Whistling occurs across all languages and cultures. All people have the capacity to whistle, though many do not whistle well. Lacking phonemes, whistling is a pre-language language, a candidate for a limited Esperanto of human-machine communication.
This is an interesting notion because one of the most successful pieces of consumer electronics, the original Palm PDA, is based on a similar idea applied to writing. Palm devices dispense with the keyboard, but they do not provide true handwriting recognition. Users scrawl on the screen with Graffiti, a set of symbols designed to be more easily read by computers. By meeting the PDA more than halfway, users had an effective subsitute for bulky (or unusable) keyboards.
Old-school hackers don't need to be convinced of the value of a good whistle. The Bell system phased out its human operators in favor of an automated system based on tones of set frequencies in the 1960's. According to hacker legend, a blind boy with perfect pitch figured out how to whistle up unlimited long distance calls.
Science fiction fans have long been fond of a robot that communicated with a series of whistles (and beeps). R2-D2 speaks a language that is very efficient, but which requires the services of a protocol droid for translation into human-understandable language.
If you are interested in other forms of voice recognition, take a look at the Phraselator P2, the most advanced handheld military-grade speech recognition and translation device available. If you're tired of Star Wars reruns, take a look at GRACE - A real robot
that specializes in etiquette and protocol.
Thanks to an alert (but anonymous) reader for the idea and a hat-tip to WMMNA.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/8/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
CD, DVD Bit Rot And PKD's Civic Notification Distorter
'...copy two of the original document no longer can be superimposed on copy one.' - Philip K. Dick, 1965.
Zoom Education Idea Is 100 Years Old
'... the frosted glass squares began, one by one, to show the faces and shoulders of a peculiar type of young men.' - Harry Stephen Keeler, 1915.
'A Sign in Space' Gives Practice In Decoding ET Messages
'... it will be easy to form an alphabet which shall enable us to converse with the inhabitants of the moon.' - Jules Verne, 1867.
MyManu Titan 'Screenless Smartphone'
'...the programmed software includes procedures for translating most normal variations of voice, idiom, accent, and other variable modalities into a computer-oriented sim-script.' - Frederik Pohl, 1966.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
18 Wheels Mutant Centipede Vehicle
'If a centipede were a dinosaur and made of metal to boot...'
Octopus Suckers Inspire Transdermal Patches
'...a capsule which he placed against his wrist.'
Robotic Hands Have More Than One Use
'The crawling, exploring object was V-Stephen's surgeon-hand...'
Space Weather To Universe Weather
'It radiates outward in a cone which, by the time it has reached our section of space, is many lightyears across.'
That's MOXIE! Terraforming Mars Baby Steps
'Drake was the young spatial engineer he employed to terraform the little rock.'
'No, I'm Not A Robot' - Robot
'... with a weird simulation of life, the ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'
Missing Jet Finally Found
Ah, what could have been - still in the future.
Philippines Coast Guard Cuts Chinese Barrier
'Each of the four areas is enclosed by a sonic wall...'
Barista Robot Perfects Latte Swirl With Multi-DOF Wriggle
'It's done with a flip of the third joint of the tentacle on the down beat.'
Vendetta 2023 All-Terrain Skateboard Could Use Neal Stephenson's Smartwheels
'If you surf over a bump... If you surf over a pothole...'
Safe Street Rebel Autonomous Vehicle Luddites And Schachner's 1931 Robot-Deranger
'Then the spreading beam of the deranging ray struck them, and they stood an instant transfixed...'
The Electric Balance Bicycle And The Decline Of Western Civilization
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
'Droplet' Battery Microscale Power Pack
'...a power pack the size of a pea.'
ARX-5 Doing Robot Arm Dancing
It's Data's day - at last.
CD, DVD Bit Rot And PKD's Civic Notification Distorter
'...copy two of the original document no longer can be superimposed on copy one.'
Inbiodroid Prometheus 2.0 Telepresence Avatar Robot
My prize robot, tall, dashing would speak and act for me...
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories