I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.

 

Syllabuzz: Tactile Design Made Real

Last week, I wrote about an idea that let you know who was calling without having to look at your phone. It centered around having the phone “speak” the callers name through vibrations. The idea provoked a lot of interesting discussion: everything from how it might work in monosyllabic languages to guiding visually impaired people through urban environments.

As any silicon valley investor can tell you, ideas are cheap. Anyone can have an idea. It’s actualization which is valuable: that takes time, initiative, and know-how. Fellow Mozillian Dietrich Ayala has all of those.

Over the fourth of July weekend, when he should have been basking in the glow of falling phosphorescing chemicals, he spent some time turning the speak-through-vibration idea into a tangible thing.

Syllabuzz is an implementation of the tactile design that works on Android phones by Dietrich. You can get the source code on Github, or you can get it from the Android Market if you have an Android-based phone.

A huge thanks to Dietrich for making it all happen.

RT @aza Syllabuzz: Tactile Design Made Real | Follow @aza on Twitter | All blog posts

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A couple of days I told a friend about this, noting that it probably will be realized on Android first.

I had no clue it would become reality that fast!



Lloyd

Seriously, so much fun. I saw your post last week about this and I’m just floored that I now have the app running on my G1 and it pretty much spells out my wife’s name when we just giddily tried it!

And after reading through the source code on github and see just how easy it is really makes me want to try my own app sooner :)

Awesome.


This is really cool. I can’t find friends with polysyllabic names to try it with — the one who did call, “Rosemary”, just made it buzz once, very quickly, and then switched to the regular vibrate pattern. Didn’t seem to be three buzzes at all.

Am I doing it wrong? I like this idea. Is there a reason it doesn’t repeat the buzz pattern instead of switching after doing the name once? You might not notice it on the first one.


Wow. This is the first time I’ve heard of a cool app and then realized it isn’t on the iPhone. Ah, well, hope it gets ported soon.


This is real good news and very encouraging in multiple ways.

First the sheer fact that there was such high motivation to get this out in a weekend.

Second, though the initial idea did not capture it, cool stuffs are being developed for the differently-abled (aka physically challenged) people.

Way to go.

Kudos to both of you.


@Randall Munroe: I’m not sure. I actually don’t have an Android phone, so I haven’t been able to play with it — which makes me very sad. I’ll ask Dietrich about it, or you can take a look at the source :)

P.S., I saw you talk at Google with Knuth and Guido (whom I was there with). That was an epic room.

@Srirag: That’s an excellent point. Designing for various forms of impairment can often lead to better designs for everyone. We are all blind, etc. in a very real way.



Arun

amazing ! remarkable speed of dev…..any ports to other platforms, win mo, blackberry, iphone, symbian et cetera


Here’s the application:


hmmm…. annoyingly, the <img> link didn’t work.


Thanx for the valuable information. This was just the thing I was looking for, noe I will buy iPhone instead of Android…. keep posting. Will be visiting back soon.


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Seriously, so much fun. I saw your post last week about this and I’m just floored that I now have the app running on my G1 and it pretty much spells out my wife’s name when we just giddily tried it!



designguy

Why don’t you give NameBuzz a go? It’s got this functionality built in, and a bit more… Great concept Aza!


Seriously, so much fun. I saw your post last week about this and I’m just floored that I now have the app running on my G1 and it pretty much spells out my wife’s name when we just giddily tried it!



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