Abstract

It is important to exploit sound as a vital communication channel for computer-human interfaces. Developing this potential motivates both developing expressive models unique to audio and also exploring analogues to visual modes of representation. This paper elaborates an organization of presentation and control that implements a flexible sound management system called “audio windows.” After reviewing audio imaging, spatial sound, and relevant underlying technology, an audio windowing prototype is described, implementing an extended model of free-field, two-dimensional spatial sound control. The system, “Maw” (acronymic for multidimensional audio windows), is a GUI (graphic user interface), integrating a graphic editor with a multidimensional spatial sound engine. Standard idioms for WIMP (window, icon, menu, pointing device) systems are reinterpreted for audio window applications, including provisions for directionalized and nonatomic spatial sound objects. Unique features include draggably rotating icons, clusters, dynamically collapsible hierarchical groups of spatial sound objects, and an autofocus mode that is used to disambiguate multiple presence.

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