No. 206

LeakyPhones: A gaze-based music sharing headset

By : amosg

Entrant’s location : Brooklyn, NY, USA



Common personal computing technologies, such as smartphones and headphones, draw significant visual and auditory attention and isolate us from our environment, thus reducing the chance we will engage in interactions with other people in our surroundings. LeakyPhones is a public/private headset that was designed to try and promote conversation, face-to-face interaction and sharing by letting users "peak" into each other just by looking.

What did you create?

I've created a headset that lets users listen to each other's music by looking at one another. The system lets the user decide on their level of privacy -are they interested in sharing, receiving, both or none- and thus they can prescribe the type of interactions they are interested in having at any point in time. the headset can act a social icebreaker, a means to share ideas or a way to stay away from interactions

Why did you make it?

I moved to the USA 3 years ago. every day I would get on a train for an hour-long commute where everyone seemed to have their ears covered by headphones and eyes stuck to a screen, texting their digital friends while ignoring the person net to them. I realized that being around so many people could invite conversation and interactions, but only if the technology that isolates people itself, will make people more aware and help them get closer to one another

How did you make it?

I collaborated with the headphone company BOSE during my time at the Media Lab. I created a working prototype of the technology based on a simple headset, Arduino and an FM radio receiver and transmitter as well as IR LEDs. later, I created another version of the technology to conduct a user study using the HTC VIVE and Bluetooth audio receivers and transmitters.

Your entry’s specification

My work has two forms: the first version is the size and shape of a standard headset. The second version is based on the VIVE tracking system, so it also includes the base stations and the trackers. for both versions, a phone or other music source is needed.