Tired of dealing with a cluttered email inbox, an avalanche of social media updates, and a phone blowing up with texts? Well, Jörg Müller of the University of Berlin is trying to create a world where those are a thing of the past. He calls it the “BoomRoom”.
In the 80's and 90's there was a trend of "virtual reality" where users could interact with a completely digital world as if they were living in it. Sadly, virtual reality fell by the wayside. There are still some remnants of it in popular culture. For example, Jarvis and the computers of Tony Stark from the Iron Man franchise have tenuous connections to the virtual reality craze since they allow for 3-D and voice interaction with a computer, rather the point-and-click, read-and-type method that most people are forced to use now.
Müller's BoomRoom would work in much the same way. You would no longer interface with your computer through a screen, but rather through an immersive environment where emails, texts, and tweets were given to you through audio or even displayed in the air if you need to see them. It would react to gestures rather than utilizing a mouse and keyboard interface. It would essentially turn any home into a massive computer.
The way this would be accomplished is through a technology called wave field synthesis (WFS) which was devised by the Delft University of Technology. It utilizes a combination of sound fields to create an atmosphere where every noise and every movement can be read by a computer and interpreted to mean different things.
Imagine the home of the future, where remote controls are a thing of the past. Already such devices as the XBox One and the Playstation 4 use voice recognition and room scanning to reduce the user's reliance on hand-held devices and instead can operate the device with just the power of their voice. This is the utopia that the BoomRoom and the WFS system promise. It would take immersion to a whole new level where everything from answering a phone call to turning down the stereo or recording your favorite TV show could be accomplished with a wave of your hand or a simple command spoken anywhere in the house.
The BoomRoom is just the beginning of this world where homes are not littered with endless gadgets but streamlined into one powerful mainframe that controls everything and helps you organize your life more efficiently and effectively. It is better than virtual reality, it is actual reality.