Technology

The TSG Toolkit is a parasitic technology. It feeds on the propagation of WiFi access points in dense urban environments as a free, ready-made, locative infrastructure for cultivating community sound gardens in contemporary public space. The concept leverages the fact that the protocol for WiFi networks requires access points to publicly broadcast their SSID (Service Set Identifier). Access points producing the WiFi signals used to determine the location of a participant may be open or encrypted, and need not be "owned" by those deploying the TSG system. As the hardware component of the infrastructure is tied to the propagation of WiFi networks, the extent of the gardens is cast in a parasitical relationship to that of a specific wireless protocol.

The software works by sampling WiFi node signal strengths over the geographical limits of a specific location, and through a process of triangulation, calculates the radiometric signatures (signal strength) for positions within that location and stores them in a database. TSG enabled clients compare signal samples taken within a given location with the database of radiometric signatures to determine the geographical location of the participant.

Utilizing a 3D sound engine common to gaming environments, sounds in the garden are positioned on-the-fly in the three-dimensional space surrounding a listener based on the position of the participant within the physical location.

Where the presence of 802.11 access nodes is minimal, gardens simply consist of plantings along a sidewalk. Where a local density of nodes exist, gardens potentially take the scale of a neighborhood. In cities where wireless networks are ubiquitous, gardens potentially extend throughout the entire city. [2]

The hardware requirements are minimal, and consist of one (1) WiFi network and one (1) TSG server per sound garden. To access the garden, participants use their own WiFi enabled laptop or mobile device running the TSG Client.

WiFi Network:

Each TSG requires the proximity of at least two (more is better) 802.11 (WiFi) access nodes, one of which must be open and connected to a TSG server. These access points are used to calculate the position of the TSG client within the geographic limits of area covered by the network. Access nodes producing the 802.11 signals used to determine the location of a participant may be open or WEP encrypted, and need not be "owned" by those deploying the TSG system. [3]

TSG Server:

The TSG Server contains a custom location server application and database; a library of (uploaded) sound files; and a client application available for downloading by participants. Each garden requires one server accessible via http requests over WiFi networks. This server is maintained (and weeded) by an individual or organization.

TSG Client:

The TSG Client is a small custom application that runs on WiFi enabled mobile devices (handhelds, laptops, etc). Participants use this app to listen or modify a TSG. The Client integrates a 3D audio engine with the positioning information provided by the server and renders a positional audio stream on the fly based on the participant’s location in physical space.

NOT INCLUDED in the Toolkit are regulations for governing the use (or abuse) of the garden. This is left to the gardeners to sort out. TSGs are intended as self-organizing systems.