- Media Lab Europe, research partner to MIT Media Lab, is testing tunA, a software application that employs Wi-Fi to locate nearby users, peek at their music playlist and wirelessly jack into their audio stream. Pronounced like the fish and signifying music “tunes” and “ad hoc” file sharing, tunA is being designed for wireless PDAs, cell phones and even its own hardware device.
“TunA alleviates the alienation of using a Walkman, and it makes it more of a social experience. You can listen to your music and still open yourself up to people around you,” said research fellow Arianna Bassoli, who masterminded the project late last year after researching the way young people in Dublin interact — or don’t — in public spaces.
Since February, Bassoli has dedicated herself to answering the question: Can anyone become a mobile radio station? Joined in July by computer engineer Julian Moore, another member of Media Lab Europe’s Human Connectedness group, a working prototype implies the answer is yes. Their next step is to determine whether tunA can become a social experience.
….When alone, a tunA-enabled device functions like a regular MP3 player. But around others like it, the interface displays other in-range users, identified by the avatar of their choice. Avatars appear or disappear automatically as users go in and out of range.
Clicking on others’ avatars lets you see whatever personal information or messages they want to share with the world. It also displays their playlist and the song they are listening to at that moment so you can decide if you want to tune in.
There’s also instant-message capability, the possibility to change skins and a virtual stalking feature: You can bookmark not only songs, but also people.
….As for potential DMCA-violation concerns, Bassoli isn’t worried at the moment. TunA isn’t designed to provide downloading capability, and rogue software available to hijack music streams isn’t much more sophisticated than a camcorder in a movie theater. [Wired]
It’s social, tuneful, and untraceable – no one to sue, no one to blame.
You know once it’s functional the download capacity will magically emerge. The labels better get some kind of agreement on an Internet access fee of some sort quickly before the whole thing fades away.