In addition to audio enhancement of the desktop, the AUI concept is a basis for mobile, hands-free/eyes-free computing. It will easily enable embedded or mobile applications designed for particular tasks (cf., Killer apps). One obvious thing is audio monitoring of the environment. A sensor detecting an automobile driving in your blind spot could be hooked up to a 3D-located audio widget so as to provide auditory feedback to drivers about other cars on the road. Pilots monitoring many airplane systems could do so (given effective silence in the cockpit) auditorily using a 3D AUI, where it might also include the location and presence of other aircraft (or incoming missiles, for example) which are too far away to see. (Perhaps I should have followed up on the Air Force SBIR request which I got a year ago in response to the AUI posting of 1994.)
Because I have a day job (Sprex), which is somewhat related but not directly able to support this work, I have decided to focus my own limited efforts in this area on the enabling work that will bring the project to reality as a public project. A free-software project under an unrestricted-use copyright is most likely to bring competent participants on board to help do development and will ensure the maximum exposure and utility of the resulting system. I believe that AUI's are necessary and good for the world, and I like to do good things.
Today the AUI Project is composed of some brief conceptual-level notes and API specifications, but it has no working code, developers, applications. Even so it is going to change the world! With hands-free eyes-free AUI-based computing, we move from fluorescent-lights and wrist tendonitis to a highly-enabled mobile world where everyone can do anything just by talking and listening. An AUI can be implemented on what will eventually look like a hearing aid or a tie-clip. It is a tremendous concept that will do a lot of good, not just for the blind people whom it was initially designed form.
Please participate! If you believe in this concept, please contribute some time or money to pay for developers (I can get work done cheap in Bangalore!) Contact me if you're interested.