Digital Finds

joseph dot reeves at thehumanjourney dot net

Acoustic Pathmapping

Dec 07, 2007 by Joseph Reeves

Today I updated the OA XO unit to the latest stable build (650) and firmware (q2d07). There's a noticeable speed increase over the previously installed build, plus many nice fixes, tweaks and polishing; even the camera works again! And in glorious full screen too.

Is it the perfect recording tool for the field archaeologist? Probably not; the FIC Neo1973 still trumps it, but the XO unit is still an amazing thing for kids.

Of course, OA got hold of these XO units on the promise that we would develop software for kids to map their environments. This was named PathMapper, and I put Leif's blueprint for it here.

An application ("activity" to give the proper term) included within the latest build (and possibly before; I don't know) could prove very useful for the Pathmapper project. Acoustic Tape Measure measures the distance between two XO units based on the noises they make and subsequently hear. Save these distances as points, add some simple alternative to a northing and degrees, and let kids draw in the details and you've got a simple mapping program.

I know that this isn't what Leif originally wanted; he wanted some defined distances (near, fair, really fair; to paraphrase) that would be used in relation to what you were mapping. If mapping this office, for example, the desk next to me is near, but the reception is really far away; if mapping the industrial estate we live in, the office is really close and something outside is really far away. My apologies to Leif if I've misrepresented his idea, and if the idea of accurate-ish distance recording goes against the original plan, but I think there's room for some acoustic distance measuring in mapping for kids.

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