You are here

I Wanna' Feel the Music!

I Wanna' Feel the Music!
by Gary Woods

I was wandering around the Internet the other day and found a study being put on by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). The project is called XPod and it automates some of the interaction between the user and their musical device. What this means is the device senses whether you're going faster or slower, getting hotter or colder and plays music appropriate to that condition.

A key component in the system is a physiological sensor called the SenseWear from BodyMedia ( The sensor is placed in an armband and is designed to monitor a variety of parameters such as galvanic skin response, heart rate and skin temperature. These are some of the same parameters used in Lie Detectors and have been proven to measure such things as sadness, anger, surprise, fear, frustration and amusement.

The XPod system "learns" the user's preferences, activities and emotions and selects the most appropriate music to accompany any given activity. The experimental setup includes a Windows laptop, which wirelessly receives the data from the SenseWear and executes all the processing and stores the selected songs. It then sends the songs to a PDA via Wi-Fi allowing the user to rate the music, skip to the next song, and otherwise control playback. This project looks really cool and will definitely be fun, but don't go wandering down to Circuit City any time soon looking for this thing because its really in its' infancy.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. You can hear Gary on the Radio at 1290 AM Monday 9-10 AM and he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc