GarblePhone: auditory lurking
Stefan Marti, Nitin Sawhney, Mike Jacknis, Chris Schmandt

As part of our work on portable audio communication systems, we would like a limited community of other people to be able to become aware of our moment-to-moment level of activity. I may welcome a call from a friend when in the silence of my office, wish to avoid it if I am active in a meeting, and perhaps simply know that they would like to chat should I be in a lecture. We sample the local acoustic environment with a body-worn microphone, and process it so that listeners may know whether I am conversing or quiet, hopefully be able to identify the level of urgency of the conversation and possibly the other parties, but not be able to understand anything being spoken. This helps the remote party determine how interruptible I am.

GarblePhone website

Sound examples

For garbeling the audio, adjacent audio segments of 100ms length were swapped.

on the phone, in office original sound garbled sound
two people talking, in office original sound garbled sound
on the phone, in open space original sound garbled sound

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