Media Lab Europe
Human Connectedness research group


a public audio online message board

Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Stefan Agamanolis

AudioBored is a public audio bulletin board that allows candid opinions, thoughts, ideas, and exclamations in the form of short audio messages to be posted live in a shared web space as well as a public audio installation. By calling a toll-free number on any telephone, anyone can leave a message on this bd share it with the world. These messages are organized by various themes and threads, and once posted they cannot be deleted.

AudioBored consists of an automated server that allows anyone to place a call from any telephone and record an anonymous voice message onto the system. The caller may select to contribute to particular topic threads or just to leave a general candid message. These messages are saved in a database that is available globally via the AudioBored web site, as well as locally on a physical answering machine. This machine, placed in a public space, has physical sliders that let passers-by navigate and listen to the messages recorded in the different threads.

AudioBored enables anybody with a telephone to post voice messages to the Internet from specific locations and scenarios in which Internet access may not be easily available, such as at public events, political rallies, entertainment spectacles, and so on. For example, people in the midst of a crowded protest march could voice their opinions from the center of the action, and these messages would be accessible on the AudioBored web site immediately upon being recorded.

AudioBored augments the concept of a traditional telephone answering machine by adding a networked component to its everyday use and situating it in a public space. The project also adds a voice component to the previously text-only platform of online message boards. The system can store messages over time to build a personal or public archive of ongoing communications within an organization, individual relationship, or community.

Publications and Links

  • Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Stefan Agamanolis, AudioBored: a publicly accessible networked answering machine, Adjunct Proceedings, UbiComp 2003 Fifth International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Seattle, 12 - 15 October 2003. (PDF)

  • AudioBored was featured on NoemaLab, June 2003.

  • Jonah's web site about AudioBored.