Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rabble Babble

I heard about this on NPR during my lunch break... Herman Miller, manufacturers of fine office cubicles, is branching out into high tech equipment for those same offices. The first product from the fertile minds of their Creative Offices division is called Babble (official press release).
"Say 'Hello' to my little ... Babble."
Babble is a conversation masker. It listens to speech, and then repeats the conversation in multiplied and "babbled" form through proprietary speakers arranged in the work area. A conversation between two people will sound like a small crowd in a busy restaurant. The idea here is that our minds are distracted not by noise but by meaning. And Babble strips all meaning away. There is nothing to grab your mind -- it's the vocal equivalent of white noise. Herman Miller states that Babble can be used not only for sound management but also for privacy. In fact, their press release claims Babble is a breakthrough technology that provides voice confidentiality and security of information. I wouldn't mind having one in my office, where heated,technical discussions occur on a frequent basis. And since I work in a cube farm, it would be nice to mask personal phone calls (both my own, and those of my neighbors). But I really want to get my hands on one of these things and experiment with sound effects for the theater. Read more about Babble:

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