Recent research suggests people are less happy when their minds wander from the present moment to the future or the past. This is particularly relevant in the idle and semi-idle moments a commuter encounters while transiting to and from work or study. The routine of commuting may encourage unhappiness. Raydar is an iOS app which reduces mind-wandering by keeping commuters engaged with dynamic and context-aware audible experiences.

The experiences called tracks are compositions of music or sounds arranged and played autonomously by software agents contained within the app. The agents gather environment data in realtime from Geospatial, BLE and MQTT/IoT sensors and utilises this information to make supervised decisions when to play a particular track element. Track elements may only play in certain locales, or alternative elements may play dependent on iBeacon proximity or weather conditions as examples. Tracks are shared and discovered organically by users near each other and are stored as enhanced Podcast (RSS) Feeds.

The visual design of the app features an infinity scrolling list view containing a card for each track. New cards are added to the list when discovered and without user intervention. A track can be activated or deactivate by double tapping the card or by tapping the play or stop buttons in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. The toolbar also features a network indicator. When a track is acquiring an element or waiting for a sensor the card flashes, the card has a solid colour if the track is playing.

To make the idea workable on mobile platforms, unique solutions needed to be devised including:

- Self organising peer-to-peer track syndication which isn't Internet dependent
- Asynchronous (Jade-like) Agent Framework and Secure Container
- Asynchronous C4.5 Classifier

The app prototype has been used in a number of unintended but interesting ways by testers. Each week a few local musicians create or modify their own original tracks and make them playable at various inner city locations. Other users seek out the locations to hear the next track or variation. I liken it to a 3 or 4 minute underground concert and am considering expanding the use case to a city wide "emotional landscape" or soundscape concept.

  • Testflight Submission
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