More on the Virtual Reality Audio Headset

A few weeks ago, I posted an entry entitled The Future of Cell Phone Headsets. David Battino wrote a few days to let me know that Peter Drescher, the author of the article that sparked that entry, just published a follow-up article describing the potential
hardware in his imagined virtual reality headset in more detail. He includes more
application scenarios as well. For example David pointed out this one:

Rewind:Since you’ve got stereo mic input and gigabytes of storage,
how about a rolling 5 minute (or 5 hour) audio buffer … a continuous
“court stenographer” that lets you play back anything you’ve ever heard.
Someone tells you a great joke — voice command “Save buffer” stores it in
a date, time, and geo-tagged file for later retrieval (and sharing).

That’s an important feature of Gordon Bell’s mylifebits envisioned not as a research project but as an everyday feature of the phone. That would create some significant cultural change, eh? That’s a feature I always wished for in my younger days, when my wife and I used to fight a lot, and we’d spend hours untangling who said what to set the other off!

Drescher goes on:

Personal Audio Network technology seems to be so mind-bogglingly useful, i suspect the technical and cultural problems will be resolved quickly, ingeniously, and profitably. there will always be old farts who grumble about “the good old days (when you couldn’t hear nothin’ but the wind),” but those who adopt this new medium (kids and uber-geeks at first) will seem to acquire super-sonic super-powers. they’ll be able to hear more and better than mere mortals, communicate faster and more efficiently than their auricularly-unenhanced colleagues, and be interconnected in ways we can’t even imagine.

eventually, not wearing earpods will be like not having a phone or a computer – you won’t be able to do business without them. you’ll simply control your audio environment as if you were in a mobile recording studio, enhancing one track while muting others, mixing and modulating sounds to suit your needs, talking and listening and interacting with wireless voice/data networks all around you.

Most exciting, Drescher notes:

well, this idea has obvious implications for mobile game audio, and so I talked about it at Austin GDC. Not long after that, i expanded on the concept for a presentation at AES NYC … and was amazed by the number of conference attendees who were already working on parts of the idea.

This is the way the future happens. A bunch of people are working on something, for one purpose or another. Some hacker figures out it’s good for more than that. Slowly the pieces assemble, like a picture puzzle taking shape on the table, till you can see the pattern of a possible future unfold. Someone puts in the final piece, and all of a sudden everyone can see that future and embrace it. Awesome.

This is really important news from the future Drescher is talking about. Pay attention.

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