The idea of decision-making can also be applied to the experience of listening to music. Like watching tv, this is somewhat passive at present, but if audio brands could make it more of a curated experience in which the listeners have huge levels of control, families could once again be engaged and encouraged to bond with each other. For instance, they could decide to blend elements from different tracks, dialling up and down features of a particular song based on their preferences.
But it doesn’t always come down to decision-making. Creating truly immersive experiences can help generate an environment of shared emotional response. Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, unveiled at CES, enables listeners to feel as if they are immersed in sound from all directions and that they are part of the music. Certainly, this is something that a family could experience together in the home.
Moving away from audio, this immersion could also be provided in a visual sense. Projection and sensing technology could be used to understand everyone’s individual, physical requirements, with mixed reality bringing an element of interest to a situation that may have initially struggled to engage some family members. Gaming experiences could be used to immerse children in learning environments. The Wonderscope AR app, for example, promotes a new type of experience in which children are empowered with narratives that encourage movement, reading aloud and exploration.
Personally, I am of the opinion that relationships between people should be kept as natural and physical as possible, but if implemented in the right way, technology-led experiences like this can help complement our human conversations and interactions for the better, creating truly meaningful interactions with the technology around us.
Rowan Williams is creative lead at Flux, a division of Panasonic Design
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