Aug 9, 2009

Surface Flight Tracker Video from fboweb labs /, with background music by Art of Noise for your NUI pleasure.

This flight-tracker application for the Surface, looks fun to use. As I watched the video, I realized that it wasn't the application itself that I liked. It was the music that accompanied the video. The choice of music was from the 80's synth-pop band, Art of Noise

Since I'm a music lover, the music got me thinking.

Wouldn't it be great if productivity/work-related applications like Flight Tracker could be developed to provide a means for incorporating a sound-track?

Several thoughts and ideas flashed into my mind:

  • Surface and related natural user interface/interaction (NUI) applications have the potential to transform routine, ho-hum work tasks into activities that are a bit more pleasant. Since people often listen to music while they work, it stands to reason that NUI productivity applications should incorporate a music component, at least as an option.
  • To support a user-centered music platform for NUI applications, the application could incorporate a "smart" music library within the system, with the capability of integrating music libraries and playlists from user's mobile devices, as well as the web, effortlessly.(Of course, there are privacy/security and firewall issues to address, but that is another story.)
  • Users could have a choice of listening to their own music playlists (including a shuffle option, selecting from a variety of presets, or go for something like the iTunes genius effect, listening to music generated from an algorithm that takes into account music preferences and user interaction with the productivity application over time.
  • Since many Surface/NUI applications are designed to support collaborative work and interaction between two or more people, the music situation could get a bit complicated, since people have differing tastes. If co-workers disagreed about the music selection, the program would automatically default to generic elevator music, or silence.
  • NUI applications might even pave the way for a new genre of music. This concept isn't too far-fetched. Think of all the music we've come to love over the years that was composed for movies and even video games!

If you know of anyone that is working on this concept, or would like to collaborate with me sometime in the future on this concept, please let me know. I'm slowly working on an interactive timeline prototype, and I have some ideas about adding a music/sound track component.

Art of Noise - Close To The Edit (Version 1):


Andy said...

That's a very fascinating concept. I'm the author of the Flight Tracking app & video; I've played computer games for years that incorporate music that seemlessly changes depending on your actions in the game... why couldn't they do the same thing for a work app? I guess you'd have to find the balance between adding to the users mood & productivity and having the music not become a distraction.

I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has actually done any work/studies of the idea.

JoshB said...


What map control did you use in the application? Did you use or had you seen InfoStrat.VE

For a soundtrack, if you had a highly integrated soundtrack, it would likely sound very similar each time you use the application and could be very boring, just through repetition, as anyone who has played the same video game over and over can attest. And using an app for work involves significantly more time than a video game (usually.) A soundtrack for casual occasional time use might be a good idea. If you used the user playlist, then integration would be limited.

Lynn Marentette said...

I think the repetition in a soundtrack would be boring-- I think it would be better to have a playlist option that people could customize according to need/mood/taste in genres.