So what happened at the Honda hack days back in November?

A good question, that isn’t easy to answer as there was so much going on. Basically, most of Honda’s Cultural Engineers (I am one) gathered for the first time face-to-face, together with a bunch of application developers to see what would happen. Three videos have just been released on The Guardian website which capture the weekend quite well. The first of these is embedded below (for those reading this on the blog). The whole set can be viewed on The Guardian website here.

As you will see a lot of the stuff that was worked on was pretty experimental. I went along with an almost embarrassingly practical suggestion for an iPhone application I really need. Unfortunately this was not taken up by any of the developers during the weekend but I believe one of them has picked it up subsequently. Hopefully something will emerge from this.

As a note to myself I thought I’d describe the app I need right here.

The problem

I do a lot of presentations in an effort to spread the ColaLife idea and the thinking behind it in order to get reactions (from which we learn) and support which helps us move the idea forward. The trouble is that there are only a finite number of people present at these events and when the presentation is done, it’s done.

I’d like an application that would record what I say at these presentations so that I could then overlay the audio on to the presentation slides and put them online. I have overlaid audio onto slideshows before using Slideshare but recording an audio track retrospectively takes a lot of time and I can never capture the atmosphere and energy of a presentation when it was first delivered in public.

Once online with an audio track the presentation could be viewed by many other people. 450 people listened to my TEDxBerlin presentation on the day I gave it. Nearly 3,600 have subsequently watched the presentation online.

The solution (function list)

This is what I’d like the application to do.

  1. The key functionality is to be able to record the speaker as they give their presentation so that the audio that is captured can be overlaid on the presentation (using SlideShare or SlideRocket) to create a ‘SlideCast’.
  2. To do the above you need some sort mechanism for getting the recording off the iPhone as an MP3. One way of doing this might be to send it to AudioBoo. Once on AudioBoo you can download the MP3 from there. This isn’t ideal but would do for a first version!
  3. The user should be able to pause and resume the recording during the presentation
  4. The application should also control the presentation with forward and back buttons which would send a ‘mouse-click’ and a ‘back arrow’ signal to the PC or Mac hosting the presentation. This would mean that the application could be used to control presentations in PowerPoint and SlideRocket.
  5. The matching of the audio with the slideshow would be done by hand.
  6. The applications should display the time elapsed and keyword-type prompts for the current slide. These would be entered by hand before the presentation delivery

The user interface

The user interface could look something like this. Note that the iPhone would be held upside down – so the display needs to upside down too – so that the Mic is nearer the speaker’s mouth. The iPhone would be held like a Mic and I would use a foam Mic cover on the iPhone like I do for my podcasts:

User Interface for iPhone App

Nice additional touches

  1. In the setting file for the application there would be an option to configure for right or left handed users (this would swap the buttons around ie the forward/backward button and the pause/resume record button)
  2. The timer could be set to count up or count down