How GROM’s Innovations Offer Safety and Congruence with California’s New Ban on Distracted Driving

 

Hands Free Car Safety

California has made it clear. If you drive with a steering wheel in one hand and your mobile device in another, you’re breaking the law. Last September, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB-1785. On January 1st, it became the law. This new law, also known as California Vehicle Code Sect. 23123.5, mandates that people may only use their mobile phones while driving if those devices are mounted on their dashboards while set up for voice activation or hands-free use. Aside from an exception for Emergency personnel, violators will be fined $20 for the first offence and increased fines for consecutive violations.

“The whole idea is you don’t have the phone in your hand, period,” said Bill Quirk, the California Assemblyman from Hayward. He believes the law will make it easier for police officers to discourage drivers from dangerous phone use.

Luckily, many manufacturers and retailers have already been designing technology and phone dashboard mounts to prevent distracted driving accidents. These devices ensure drivers are able to access their mobile devices without losing focus on the road.

GROM Audio, in particular as a company, has devoted their mission to offering smarter and safer integration of mobile technology to vehicles. Additionally, they spent time ensuring driver safety is number one in regards to accessing mobile technology. In particular, two ideas they have developed over the last several years have been key in making them innovation leaders in car audio.

After spending years developing their car kits that integrate mobile devices with car stereo systems and allow owners to use their stereos to control their smart phones, GROM looked for new opportunities to develop car tech for driver safety. One of their ideas was DashLinQ.

Hands Free Bluetooth Dashlinq

 

DashLinQ is an app that could be used to access audio, GPS, and other mobile apps while driving. If offers voice activation controls that allow owners to get what they need from their phone—whether music, navigation, phone, or texting functionality. The visual interface offers large icons and a simple display layout, suited for car mounted devices and quick referencing.

GROM also offers car mount solutions, which had been tested and approved.  They work for all smartphones, providing quick and hassle-free mounting to the car.

Hands Free Bluetooth Smartphone Car Mount

 

There are already 14 states that prohibit the use of mobile devices when driving and 46 states along with the District of Columbia that prohibit texting while driving. It’s not surprising.

The New York Times cited a National Highway Safety report that stated that 272 teenagers were killed in 2015 due to distracted driving. Additionally, the study reported that 3,263 of the 3,477 people who died in crashes were distracted while they drove.

GROM Audio has been concerned about distracted driving for years. They have realized that there needs to be solution that allows drivers to access mobile technology not just for entertainment, but also to utilize relevant apps like GPS navigation and road safety alert systems.

One key component in DashLinQ is an integrated Google maps feature that allows users to quickly get where they need to go through simple voice activation commands. Additionally, DashLinQ optimizes Google Maps for drivers using their phone from a dashboard mount.

Through the mount’s magnet system, Xway enables users to quickly and easily attach and remove their device from their dashboard, ensuring that there is no time wasted adjusting their phone while driving.

A recent California Office of Traffic Safety study, cited The Sacramento Bee, reported that one of eight California drivers focuses as much attention on their mobile device as they do on the road. State Road Safety officials have estimated the 80% of all crashes in California involve some kind of distracted driving. Now it is completely against the law.

This makes GROM’s goal to help eliminate distracted driving through tech innovations more urgent and relevant than before. GROM will continue to refine and develop their ideas to make life safer for drivers, passengers, and everyone else on the road.

Bluetooth Car Safety Hands free

Read more here:

Christmas Story Series – Featuring Wirelinq

An Unexpected Present

It all began days before. Mia’s mom called just to say hi and ask about Mia’s week. Eventually, the conversation drifted to how nice it was to see Brian and her for Thanksgiving, but ended with Mia’s mom admitting that her plans fell through with Mia’s aunt in Carson City. She was alone for the holidays. Brian was not prepared to take another trip up to South Lake Tahoe, especially when the snow was falling hard—but now it wasn’t an option. Mia wasn’t going to leave her mom alone during Christmas. They were going and needed to be ready in three days.

Brian was not ready for a road trip but made his best effort for his mother in law. He was able to work a half-day on the day before Christmas Eve, so they were able to leave before the rush hour traffic in Bay area.

Brian met Mia five years ago while vacationing in Lake Tahoe with his buddy Rommel. They were spending an extended weekend fishing and hanging out. Mia was there visiting her mom. They got talking about Tahoe and eventual discovered one another’s passion for skiing. Brian discovered Mia lived in and worked in Oakland, so weeks later Brian ended up calling Mia from the number she gave him. They hit it off soon afterwards. Now, Tahoe meant something special to the both of them. It wasn’t just Mia’s home; it was what brought them both together.

GROM Audio Holiday

In love pair on ski vacation

Though he really loved Mia, Brian really didn’t want to go up there without a lot of preparation. For one thing, it was snowing and he hated driving through the snow. Another thing—and most importantly—he had to cancel plans with his family in San Bruno. He understood why they were going, but it still irked him — especially since it felt so last minute.

Mia knew he would be irritated. It was obvious to her even before she said anything. He didn’t like change and hated last minute plans. It wasn’t the way his brain was wired. She learned this about him long ago. It bothered her a lot sometimes. But Mia loved him so much, she was willing to accept that was just the way he was as a person. She also could tell because he always became quieter when he was frustrated. He was really silent right before they got on the road.

Mia realized that he was making a sacrifice canceling their plans with his family during the holidays to help her and her mom out. He also knew that he got on really well with her mom, and it work out once they got there. She also knew what made Brian happy. Music—and that button was easy to push.

Brian used his Motorola G smart phone in his car to play music. He splurged and bought a massive SD card with over 80 gigabytes of RAM to store his entire music collection. Mia didn’t necessarily share his music taste for a sizable part of his collection but decided to let him choose the music on the way to Tahoe. Also, she had a surprise for him.

One of her past times was browsing through Kickstarter.com and looking at all the stuff being developed. Occasionally, she would fund some project that caught her eye, but mostly it was just to ogle all the stuff being develop. Once, she came across a company called GROM Audio and really like their idea behind Wirelinq cable, which is a USB cable with awesome technology. Not only does it charge the phone and allow users to stream content from their phone, but it also allows Android users to read meta data on their car infotainment or stereo systems — data like song title,  song track number, and so on. Wirelinq also allows owners to control functionality of their phone via their car controls.

Mia was intrigued and curious how GROM was able to develop a USB cable that seems to provide so much functionality for Android users. She read GROM’s proposal in-depth and discovered that Wirelinq has a smart chip with GROM’s proprietary algorithm inside its USB connector. Using Android Open Accessory 2.0 protocol, Wirelinq enables a phone to communicate to the car stereo easily. As a result of this “handshake”, a user’s stereo is able to play music directly from your phone, as well as display text, titles and cover art.

lifestyle2

She eventually bought a prototype of the device for Brian and was preparing to give it to him for Christmas. Now that they were on this unexpected trip, Mia surprised him while they were getting lunch at Black Bear Diner in Davis on the way to her mother’s house.

Brian didn’t believe it. He didn’t think that Wirelinq would work.  Admittedly, he did own a GROM Audio car kit with a previous vehicle. He loved the system. It allowed his phone to become an extension of his stereo system. But that kit had to be installed behind his dashboard. He didn’t believe that some special USB cable could offer him many of the features he had available through his car kit. He was really excited about Mia’s gift but was also doubtful it would work.

When they got back in the car, he quickly hooked it up. Sure enough, he had access to the media on his phone. They got back on the highway, and he started listening Green Day.

By the time they got to the mountains, it had already begun to snow. Mia had dosed off, and Brian was trying to stay awake. He was getting bored with his music collection and decide to see if he could get Truckee radio on his stereo but there was no reception. Brian decided to just drive in silence. Mia was asleep anyways.

Slowly, the sunlight vanished as the snow continued to fall. Brian’s car was struggling a little bit and somewhere near Donner Pass, traffic started to back up. Brian made a colorful remark under his breath and began trying to get Truckee radio again on his stereo. The backup could easily be due to a wreck further down the road. There were several lanes on the highway close to the pass, but the route grew narrow further on. It could also be traffic congestion traveling into the basin area. Brian needed to know.

GROM Audio Holiday

Close-up of Snowy Highway from Above on a Cold Blizzard Day of Winter

This is when he had a thought. Maybe he could use Dashlinq Web Radio on his smart phone to access Truckee radio. He went ahead and tried it through his stereo, just to see what would happen. Sure enough, he got to his Web Radio app and was able to listen to KTKE Truckee. He was happy to just get some signal bars on his phone—that was awesome.

But what wasn’t awesome was that the traffic was part of a rush to get down to the basin. Luckily, KTKE was playing Brian’s favorite program tonight, so it kept him focused and awake. Soon, Mia woke up, and Brian gave her an update. She shared some of her colorful words with him before thanking him for the news.

She was concerned that her mom might start worrying when they didn’t show up around the time Mia had mentioned. She’d called her mom when they were at the diner and said they’d be there no more than two to two and half hours. Staring down the highway with glowing headlights creating a swirling stream of illumination down the mountain slope, Mia realized they had at least four to five hours ahead of them on the road.

Brian suggested calling her since they had enough signal to get Truckee radio on his phone. Mia called her mom on her own phone and when she picked up, her mom assumed they had just parked. Mia explained they were parked—in the middle of highway traffic on the side of a Mountain. After sharing some colorful words, her mom conveyed that she would try to stay up as long as she could to wait for them.  However, if the lights in the house weren’t on, Mia could check under the welcome mat for the spare key.

It took them another three hours before passing through the South Lake Tahoe city limits. Brian decided to stop at a drive-thru before they pulled into his mother-in-law’s driveway. The both sighed in relieve when they saw the lights were still on.  Instantaneously, Brian removed his Android phone from the Wirelinq cable.  Tired yet somewhat relaxed by the music that was playing, Brian brought himself out of the car, followed by Mia who was carrying the drive-thru burgers. Brian grabbed the shakes. They walked quietly up to the front door where Mia’s mom greeted them.

Mia was relieved that not only did they made the trip safely, but Brian seemed be in good spirits still.  She sure was glad they had Wirelinq to help them through the drive.  Mia’s mom give both of them big hugs. She welcomed them inside and persistently invited them to the dining room where hot roast beef and mash potatoes awaited them. After getting inside, Mia’s mom asked what they bought. Brian softly told her it breakfast for tomorrow. She put the drive-thru in the refrigerator and everyone sat down to enjoyed a hot meal with cold milkshakes.

Bring us on the road with you.

For more information on our latest Wirelinq smart USB cable, check out on our store: http://gromaudio.com/wirelinq/.

Christmas Story Series – Featuring VLine Infotainment System

New Year Festivities

After a long week, Bill was excited. His friend Rommel invited him for five days in the valley at his loft in Los Angeles.  New Year’s plans had been decided.  They were to meet up with Rommel’s friend and finish off the year with a final countdown in Hollywood.  It would be the time of his life.

GROM Audio Blog Holiday

Bill left his apartment in San Diego, hoping to miss the traffic. But the traffic found him. He had signed up to beta test GROM’s new idea, VLine, and it was a great chance to try it out. VLine allowed the owner to  to upgrade the car’s infotainment system to the latest mobile and car technology, and get the access to Google and Waze maps for navigation, and Web Radio, Google Music, Spotify and other apps for in-car entertainment, right from his Lexus IS350 car stereo screen. . Bill had a chance to test VLine for a week already, so he became accustomed in using it.

Using Vline‘s voice control, he was able to access the latest version of Google Maps and plot the quickest route through traffic. But according to Google maps, the quickest route to Los Angeles was on Highway 5, which was clogged until he’d reached San Juan Capistrano. He could clearly see on his infotainment screen the red line reaching down to Oceanside and up into the foot of Orange County.

While puttering in traffic on the 5, Bill used his VLine infotainment system to pull up Spotify and play something relaxing. This kept him mellow for forty minutes until he decided to call Rommel and give him an update. Rommel wasn’t around so he left a message. Bill spent the rest of the time sifting through traffic as the road clog continued to maintain its lack of fluidity.

vline_lexus_infotainment_system

By the time Bill was able to pull free of the traffic jam, which last well pasts Capistrano and into the bowels of Orange County, he got a call back from Rommel who told him to meet him and some friends at restaurant called Cascabel in North Hollywood for dinner. Bill used VLine voice control for navigation to get directions from Google and began a journey through Highway 210 then the 134.

By the time he got there, Bill was tired and starving. Unfortunately, Rommel and group had made a change and we’re a couple of blocks away at The Eatery. Bill was a little irritated but Rommel had a beer waiting for him, and Bill was able to order a cheese burger, which is what he’d been craving all day. Afterwards, they hit a bar down the street and killed some more time and relaxed. Later, Bill headed back to Rommel’s place and got some shut eye.

The next day, they spent down in Venus Beach, cruising around and checking out the scene. The sun was raining heat on the concrete. They parked near the Santa Monica Boardwalk and hit the concrete tiles.  With the temperate climate, the beach was packed with travelers, tourists and regulars.

GROM Audio Blog Holiday

They talked about plans for the next day with Rommel’s friends. Where they could go and what parties were happening on Sunset Boulevard. Rommel wanted to just cruise around  and see what was happening. Bill on the other hand wanted to check out this new gastropub that recently opened. Earlier, he had heard about something big they were doing for the final countdown. Rommel did not seem too thrilled about it.

The next day, they picked up Rommel’s friends to hang out.  They drove all around Santa Monica to some local favorites.  As evening fell, they headed toward the strip and drove until dusk fell on Hollywood. Rommel was looking through Bill’s Google Play collection on his VLine infotainment system. They listened to some Trip Hop while searching the strip.  It did not take long before Bill decided to find parking a couple of blocks off the strip to continue their search by foot.  He was the designated driver for the evening and wanted to minimize cruising by car as much as possible.

They found a lounge that everyone agreed upon on Vine and Hollywood Blvd. The place was hopping, and the three friends ordered some drinks to start the night. Bill had some light snacks.  He had to be responsible after all.  After some time of hanging out and giving Bill a hard time, Rommel decided to give Bill a break.  They headed to Avenue A as Bill had suggested earlier.  By the time Bill got them there, Rommel and his friends sobered up a bit, and they were ready for round two.  The new gastropub was by the beach and with a patio to boot.  Rommel and his friends found an open table and they toasted the night away.  Bill went off on his own in search of the patio and found that it was nicely decorated with red and white lights.  There was also some light music.  Pretty soon, Bill found himself dancing and having a good time.  As midnight approached, Rommel and his friends found Bill outside and they wrapped up the year counting down together.

GROM Audio Blog Holiday

The next morning back at the loft, Rommel was no where to be seen.  Bill took advantage of this opportune solo time to finish his packing. His friend, however, did not recover from the previous night’s festivities until well into the afternoon.  They spent the rest of the day chilling and chatting as they watched Hal’s Food Adventures on WebTV before Bill decided to head back.  He sure was glad to have VLine to keep him company for the long drive ahead.

Bring us on the road with you.

For more information on our VLine infotainment system product line, check out our store: http://gromaudio.com/store/vline/.

Christmas Story Series – Featuring Dashlinq

The Road Most Traveled

The simple truth is that Anna’s mom lived five hours from San Francisco. John has taken the trip with Anna many times and now that they are getting married next spring, it was especially important to get everything right for the holidays. The packing had taken a while, especially preparing the gifts.

GROM Audio Blog Holiday

By the time they got on the road, it was 10:30am. Anna had paid for a GROM car kit several months earlier so, with the use of the GROM DashLinQ app, John was able to quickly access this Google Maps and get a route to Anna’s mom’s house. Anna had staid up late the night before, so she was still exhausted and drowsy. She quickly fell asleep after John had driven across the Carquinez Bridge and into Vallejo. By the time they had driven past Fairfax, John was bored out of his mind. There was traffic on the road according to Google maps, and they would be delayed an hour.

As John sat in traffic, his mind wandered. He thought about what could go wrong. Maybe they would show late enough that Anna’s mom had to leave the house and they were stuck waiting. Maybe gridlock would get worse, and they spend the rest of the afternoon sitting in traffic and ended dragging themselves into the mom’s house in the dark—both exhausted and annoyed. Maybe after they arrive they discovered that half there presents were left behind back in San Francisco, forgotten by the rush to get on the road and to Reno.

Dashlinq

John decided to listen to something on his cell phone. Using voice commands, he used DashLinQ to start WebRadio to access his favorite radio station from Truckee/Lake Tahoe—KTKE 101.5. He found them on their last skiing trip to Diamond Peak and fell in love. Using the WebRadio feature in DashLinQ, John would listen to Truckee radio while commuting in the Bay Area.

Regardless, KTKE kept John’s mind focused on driving and soon the traffic loosened up all the way through Sacramento. John was relieved on different levels. Just past Sacramento, Anna woke up and decided to change stations and used the DashLinQ to access her music collection she stored on Google Play. They spent the next forty minutes listening to Taylor Swift and John kept his cool the whole time, while looking for an excuse to get out of the car before he started crying.

GROM Audio Blog Holiday

He used a voice command and asked for the next restaurant, and Google Maps directed him to Dine n Dash Pub & Grill just past Colfax. Anna was game, and John was relieved. After eating and getting back on the road, John had already figure out what music to listen to so that both of them could stay sane.  They spent the rest of the trip listening to some smooth jazz on Spotify radio. Soon, they were off the highway and onto Virginia Street in Reno. The rest of the trip was quiet as they pulled into Anna’s mom’s house five and half hours since departure. But Mom wasn’t home.

They ended up using Google Maps, one more time, and had dinner at  Silver Peak Restaurant & Brewery, not too far from the house. They spent time having dinner and hanging out until Anna could get a hold of mom and head on over back to the house.

Bring us on the road with you.

For more information on our Dashlinq app and interface, check out on our store: http://gromaudio.com/dashlinq/.

Christmas Story Series

Bring Us On the Road with You Series:
Holiday Edition

Story One – Dashlinq with Bill and Anna

Story Two – VLine with Bill and Rommel

Story Three – Wirelinq with Bryan and Mia

Storytelling is one of the ways people share in the celebration of the holiday season.  Whether it’s sitting around the fireplace or gathering at the dinner table, stories bring warmth to our hearts.  During this holiday season (and in the links above), we bring you stories of how our integrative car audio solutions can help you in your travels.  Stay tuned in and engaged, and bring us on the road with you.

GROM Audio Blog Holiday

“I spend a lot of time in the car.  The most robust holiday travel I ever experienced was back in 2013 when I went with my girlfriend to spend holidays with and her family on the East Coast. Flying to New York for Christmas with her mom and brother, we then took our rental on a road trip to Boston to celebrate the New Year with her entire family outside the city.” – a storyteller

Technology Behind the Wheel

Technology has slowly entered into the driving life of most people, with mobile device users now having access to variety of apps designed to make their driving experience easier and more relaxing. GROM Audio has worked for years to make this experience has satisfying and safe as possible, developing car kits and apps to seamlessly integrate mobile device with car stereo and infotainment systems.

Driving seems to be the norm for many couples and families during the holiday, travel that includes long periods inside a car across roads in the rain and snow. The ever-present urge to get moving before Christmas then afterwards during the return to work, setting aside the urgency to finish the gift shopping and wrap the gifts, and make the assurances that everything needed is packed and ready for the journey.

The value of having access to a myriad of apps has expanded the value of driver’s travel experience. During the holidays, when the roads are packed and everyone is more distracted, having access to these apps can be indispensable. Whether mapping apps or music apps, this new technology can release drivers from some the burdens of holiday commuting.

Through GROM Audio’s car kits and apps, the value of this technology is brought to easier, less distracted methods of accessibility, enhancing passenger safety while augmenting the driving experience.

GROM Audio Blog

Is your car missing Bluetooth streaming or Smartphone integration?

GROM USB Android iPhone Bluetooth car kit gets reviewed by cerebral-overload:

Hands On: GROM USB3 Car Stereo Adapter

Do you have a used vehicle or even a new car that you wish had Bluetooth integration for hands free calls as well as media streaming? Thanks to the people over at GROM Audio,  you can get that all in a package that keeps the factory look of your radio with an easy to install kit. Lets take a look and see if this is something you should check out.

The GROM Audio USB Android, iPhone Bluetooth Adapter comes with everything you need to get your factory radio working like a new one. In the box you get the “brain box” that has all of the electronics in it as well as an install manual, instructions, and all the cables you need to have Bluetooth and USB connections to your radio.

The GROM kit is very well put together and allows even an inexperienced car audio person to install it. I was expecting to have to do some wiring for the install. The kit is completely plug and play. There is no wires to cut or splice to get this kit installed. This kit is powered by the car’s factory wiring.  As you can see from the pictures, all the wires have plugs that connect directly to the cars factory harness as well as plug directly into the back of the radio.

To install, you will need to remove your factory radio to access the harness behind it. Unplug the harness from the back of the radio and then plug those wires into the GROM harness. Next plug the other end of the GROM harness into your radio. After that, just attach the USB/aux, USB Charging and Bluetooth plugs into the GROM box. Then attach the wired mic to the Bluetooth wires and install the mic in a location that is near the drivers head, facing the driver. After that, the only thing you need to do it find a location to place the box and wires behind the radio and re-install the head unit.

The install only took me about 30 minutes from start to connecting my phone via Bluetooth.

Pairing of your phone is the same as any other Bluetooth device. Once you are paired, your phone will automatically connect every time you get in the car. To use the GROM, you need to use the band button and switch from AM/FM and go to XM. This is what powers the GROM unit and allows the music/phone calls to go through your cars speakers. You can also use the USB Cables to charge your phone, so there is no need for a separate charging cable.

If you have a MP3 Player that doesn’t have Bluetooth, the kit allows you to plug your device in via a 3.5mm AUX cable. This works just like listening through your headphones, but it goes to your car’s audio. You can also play music that is on a USB thumb drive. The screen of your head unit will show you track numbers as well as play time, just like if you were listening to a CD.  Audio streaming types that are compatible with the GROM unit are MP3, M4A, OGG, FLAC, AAC, WAV.

The basic kit comes with the GROM USB3 box and the USB cable, as well as vehicle specific wire harness. The kit as we have tested it also include the optional Bluetooth connectivity. That addition includes the Bluetooth Dongle and the wired microphone.  One option that is available that we didn’t test was the HD Radio kit that will allow you to receive HD radio station on your non HD radio. This opens up countless more radio stations in CD Quality.

The audio for the GROM USB3 kit will be as good as the speakers in your car. Luckily, in our test vehicle we have a decent speaker system so the music was very good with no static or pooping like you can get from an FM Transmitter or an inline antenna adapter. The call quality using the Bluetooth receiver and wired mic is very clear and the people on the other end were able to easily understand everything I said.

Overall, I am very impressed with the GROM USB3 kit. It was much easier to install than I expected and the clean install makes it look like your car came factory with Bluetooth option.

The base price for the GROM USB3 kit we tested is $156.99 and price as tested is $216.73 with the Bluetooth Dongle and AuxMini Din cable.  To add-on the GROM HD Radio Tuner and antenna, you will need to pony up an extra $89.99

written by: Cerebral Overload

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How Music Affects Us

It always happens to me, especially in the worst circumstance. I find these situations especially disturbing since I’ve talked about it with friends and consider how it impacts my life. I’m on the freeway with my stereo blasting, listening FM radio station blasting hard rock. I have my two hands on my steering wheel. I drive into a traffic jam. My anger levels rises until I realize I’m listening to the wrong kind of music for my commute. Slowly coming to the understanding that my blood pressure is rising, and I’m about to make an inappropriate hand signal to a fellow motorist; I quickly change my music selection via a voice command through my phone connected to my GROM Audio car kit via Bluetooth and begin listening to some smooth jazz, reducing my blood pressure and encouraging a more positive attitude in myself.

Music has always affected me in this manner. It uplifts me, excites me, relaxes me, and much more. Music has and is a way for me to establish my mood and cue my attitude throughout the day. Many times it seems to me that the music I listen to is tapping into something deep and instinctual inside my mind and passing beyond into the primitive foundations of my soul. Music stirs the deep roots of my spirit and causes a tonal quake that reverberates deep from this central portion of myself all the way back to my most conscious being.

In her essay for PyschCentral.com, Malini Mohana describes this phenomena of music as “a type of perceptual illusion, much the same way in which a collage is perceived.” She explains that the brain creates a structure to understand the content of the music and develops meaning based on the nature of the sounds. The mind begins to predict how the music will continue and what emotional reaction should occur:

Music, though it appears to be similar to features of language, is more rooted in the primitive brain structures that are involved in motivation, reward and emotion. Whether it is the first familiar notes of The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” or the beats preceding AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” the brain synchronizes neural oscillators with the pulse of the music (through cerebellum activation), and starts to predict when the next strong beat will occur. The response to ‘groove’ is mainly unconscious; it is processed first through the cerebellum and amygdala rather than the frontal lobes.

Music involves subtle violations of timing and, because we know through experience that music is not threatening, these violations are ultimately identified by the frontal lobes as a source of pleasure. The expectation builds anticipation, which, when met, results in the reward reaction.

I’m into many kinds of music but hard rock and metal are some of my favorites. I like the energy and excitation generated in me while I listen. I become motivated and immersed in the energy of the music’s tempo. Whether it is Metallica or Motorhead; I am alert, I am able to focus, and I’m emotionally volatile. The music gets me moving. It’s easier for me to get house chores finished and get me in the direction of the gym. I am physically amplified, along with vigorously engaged and involved.

The opposite can be said for slow and more melodic music. I use music to sleep at night. It drove my girlfriend crazy. Something about certain music distracts my mind and cues the right state of being for me to slip from consciousness and enter into a state of relaxed sleep. I listen to a lot of classical and ambient music before bed. I set the sleep timer to go off so my girlfriend, who goes to bed later than I do, isn’t disturbed by the music—she requires silence. Music by classical composers like JS Bach and Debussy set the right tone for sleep. Whether listening to melodic waves of “Air on the G String” by Bach or piano key strokes of “Clair de Lune” by Debussy, I am able to relinquish consciousness and become absorb in a state meditative sleep. Likewise, electronic phrases of Chris Russel’s Bloom album or Steven Brand’s Circular Scriptures album are able to help release tension and clear my mind. Feelings of respite and calm circulate throughout me.

In an essay written for The Synch Project, Marko Ahtisaari and Ketki Karanam wrote on relationship between music and emotion.  One point they addressed in their essay was how music affects consumer purchasing behavior. They considered the possibility that though music may not dupe a person to buy something they don’t want, it may motivate them to consider something they would like to buy but are uncertain of acting on that desire. They cite a study of music played in a French restaurant to illustrate their point:

In a relatively unknown and somewhat concerning study for the free-willed person (5), playing characteristically French music in a wine shop increased sales for wines originating from France and or characteristically German music increased sales of wines from Germany. In another study (6), playing classical music versus pop music in a wine shop made people choose and purchase more expensive wines. Are people really this impressionable? Probably not. It is certain that hearing a certain type of music won’t make a person purchase something they absolutely do not want. This power that music can have in influencing our decisions may speak in part for the contextual nature of cognition. And the big role that music can have as part of your everyday life.

One way for me to make sense of this idea in my own life is to reflect back on how I use music to sleep. I listen to music that I find to be calming and relaxing. I’m in my bed with the lights off; my eyes are closed, and I am dug deep under the covers and into my mattress. I want to sleep and am looking for something to create and enhance this experience. I play classical music to entice me. It contributes to my state of being and helps me enter into a condition of deep restfulness.

Another example of how music influences my mood and behavior into states I both want and need is when I write. When I am writing I generally like to play music that is in tune with the topic or content that I am writing about. By creating a musical ambience—a sort of musical background—I am able to clearly illustrate and develop the mood and pacing of my composition.

I like to write fiction in my spare time. I write in a variety of genres and settings. I’ve written comedies, dramas, and many other kind of narratives. My stories have taken place in both the future, present, and past. One genre I have used whole or in part is horror. This genre requires a very specific mood and setting. If I am unable to create the right mood, the story fails to be effective from my point of view. This is why setting the right mood and tone is very important while I am in the process of drafting a story. I commonly use music to get me into the right mode of consciousness to begin drafting and revising.  By playing moody, slow tempo atmospheric music I am able to write the type of material that creates tension and atmosphere for a horror story. The music I play becomes my personal soundtrack for my story, setting the tone for the events that occur and the behavior of the characters I create.

In many ways music may be perceived as an expression of emotion in itself. How many love ballads have been written over the last twenty years or more? How much heavy metal, rock, and rap songs have been composed expressing feelings of anger, frustration, and societal dissatisfaction?

Personally, I listen to many songs over the years just out of solidarity for my senses of loss or outrage. My breakups have been felt while listen to love songs and my anger has been mimicked in metal riffs. I have expressed my sorrow my creating playlist of Muddy Watters and Little Walter, as I have highlighted my rage with mixed tape collections of Anthrax and Slayer. I have encouraged the winter of lost love by seeking solace in Roy Orbison and Alicia Keys. I have reduced myself to meditative slumber with Schumann and Chopin.

In Matthew Kwong paper for Inquiries Journal, he explores the relation of music on the brain. He articulates earlier in the article how the brain has an immediate and dramatic effect when music is played:

The brain seems to have a natural reaction to music, causing listeners to tap their toes, sing aloud, and dance around. However “magical” it may seem, there are clear connections between music, the mind, and behavior. In fact, utilizing the latest in neuroimaging technology, researchers are able to observe how the brain processes auditory information when under the influences of music. Parts of the brain that show an increased activity include areas such as the hypothalamus, responsible for maintaining stress hormones, and the hippocampus, the area vital for emotion regulation (Levitin, 2006).

Like a flower blossom turning towards the sunlight, something in our minds turns towards music, reacts to it, and interprets it. I reacted both positively and negatively when suddenly hearing something for the first time; whether setting aside attention and focusing on what I hear, or covering my ears and walking away.

Getting back to my first example, I was driving into what I believed would be mild traffic. But that changed quickly. I found myself in a massive backup that would delay my arrival at work. Because I was playing loud, fast tempo music; my mood was further aggravated. The music began generating feelings and thoughts of outrage and exasperation, nearly causing me to offer a lude finger gesture to a fellow commuter. By turning off the music and focusing more on my driving, I was able to lower my blood pressure and focus on calm thoughts. By the time I got passed the main reason for the traffic jam, I had turn my stereo back on and played some Aretha Franklin. Her easy, slow tempo delivery helped make things easier for me to deal with and quickly I was able to get to work only ten minutes late and in a better mood.

As I get older music’s role in my life has changed. Less of my listening has been about having fun and more about focusing. Maybe this is simply because I have less free time and more work I need to complete. Time will only tell what emotions music will provide in me in the future, or how I will use it to inspire and enliven me.


About the Author:

Rudolfo San Miguel is an independent writer for GROM Audio. He works with several other companies creating compelling commercial content. He also writes fiction and poetry, He has published a book of poems titled “Cinders from the Bonfire.” He studied both creative writing and professional writing at San Francisco State University. You can see example of his professional portfolio at https://rudolfosanmiguel.contently.com

VLine, a new answer to your in-car entertainment needs

vline_lexus_infotainment_system

Although Lexus is a great car that offers both luxury and reliability, after even five years being in use its infotainment system can quickly become as obsolete as an eight-track player. What appears prime technology five years ago may seem hopelessly archaic as new car owners enjoy latest and greatest such as Car Play or Android Auto. For Lexus owners, there are options to replace an old system with an aftermarket model, which can be costly and hard to integrate.

But GROM Audio, a Silicon Valley based car audio innovator, has developed a better solution for the dilemma of the outdated Lexus stereo. They call their solution VLine, an aftermarket infotainment system upgrade for existing Lexus and Toyota vehicles. VLine is the smart computer that interfaces with the vehicle’s original manufacturer-installed stereo or infotainment system to elevate its capabilities and features.

Connected to the factory car stereo with navigation touchscreen, VLine aftermarket infotainment system provides video interface to display latest apps available on Google Play Market, including many key utilities that enhance driver safety and convenience.

Developed on Android 5.1.1, VLine enables essential navigation and GPS tools—such as Google Maps and Waze—to help drivers get to their destination safely and quickly. VLine offers many popular music apps such as Web Radio, Spotify, Google Music, displayed and operated directly using the Lexus navigation screen. Drivers enjoy seeing song titles, artists information and even cover art, on their Lexus displays. Bluetooth A2DP music steaming is also available.

VLine is controlled with existing touchscreen and/or steering wheel buttons . The users can switch between map and media screens with one touch. In addition, the Lexus drivers and passengers can use Vline’s voice search and command activation button to navigate to the place, or to find the music to play.

GROM Audio announced the pre-sale for VLine with the special early bird pricing, and estimated shipping date of September 30th.

You can see the demo video below:

GROM Audio is at EVOLUTION CAR SHOW: August 27th

EVO3-VENDOR-GROM “Kaizen” is the Japanese word for improvement. As a philosophy, it is the discipline of incessant progress. It was introduced to the West initially by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986.

GROM Audio’s goals are in-tune this concept. As an innovative company a part of the rapid evolution of car audio, GROM will be partnering with EVOLUTION, a car show hosted by BLOX that has continually looked at the philosophy of Kaizen as a path to offering a myriad of diverse elements to its event.

EVOLUTION has evolved into one of our nation’s best car shows by featuring amazing, unique vehicles and a variety of outstanding exhibits, Through “Kaizen,” BLOX realized that EVOLUTION must more astonishing each year. GROM Audio is eagerly ready to attend and present some of their latest innovations at EVOLUTION, such as DashLinQ (a music app for drivers) and the GROM’s staple car kits (kits that symbiotically integrate mobile device into car stereo systems)

Join GROM at EVOLUTION to learn what the next step is in car audio and exhibition cars. Meet Felicia Salazar (@feeesalazar at Instagram) while she will be demonstrating the GROM products at our booth. Spin the wheel of fortune to win the prizes, and chat with our friendly team.

Felicia_Salazar

WHERE
PIER 70
420 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Main Guest Entrance
22nd Street & Illinois Street

WHEN
Saturday, August 27th
1PM-6PM

COST
$20.00 per ticket
Click here for official online ticket vendors: http://gotoevolution.com/need-evo3-tickets/
All General Admission, Ticket Purchases, Guest-List, Will Call, VIP should use the entrance on the end of 22nd Street, at the corner of Illinois Street.

Please visit the EVOLUTION website for more information: http://gotoevolution.com/ Twitter/Facebook hashtag #gotoevolution

Nine Tips for a 4th of July Road Trip

The best pleasures are simple ones. Sometimes it’s great to leave everything behind and venture out on your own, or with friends and/or family. During the 4th of July weekend many American’s celebrate their nation’s birth by liberating themselves from their home and normal routine. Some people take the opportunity to pack their car and venture on to the open road. The time is perfect during the hot weather to head towards the wilderness or a local regional lake for camping, hiking, and other outdoor fun. Others take it as a chance to travel by road to a friend or family for a long overdue to visit.

 

travel

Traveling on the road can be challenging, especially with not knowing what to expect on one’s path. Proper planning and preparation can make a long driving trip easy and relaxing, avoiding hazards and time consuming variables. Here are several tips to consider when making your preparations.

1. Properly plan your start and end time, and decide how to avoid traffic.

morning_drive

Those of us living in the high density areas are quite familiar how bad the traffic can be at the start of the long weekend. Google recommends taking off early on Saturday morning, as early as before 7am, to beat the traffic. Many people leave work early in hopes of beating traffic, so the traffic starts early on Friday. The traffic will also be bad on the last day of the long weekend as the roads will be packed with the travelers returning back home.

2. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition for a road trip.

car_check

Check your tire pressure, oil, washer fluid. Pack a road safety kit and jumper cables. Get the OBD2 Dongle to read your OBD2 Diagnostic system. The Bluetooth based OBD II scan tool such as GROM’s SmartScan OBD II Dongle is able to diagnose a problem if one of your car’s warning light turn on.

3. Pack cash and old-fashioned paper maps.

maps

Bring at least $100 of paper money in addition to credit and debit cards. You never know when you cards may become inaccessible or lack sufficient funds to pay for vital needs during your journey. Never assume that whatever business you’re buying from will take credit or debit cards.

Pack old-fashioned paper maps! You don’t know when your electronic devices decide not to work and/or are not getting sufficient signal to be useful. This is the best contingency you can offer yourself in such situation.

4. Focus on your driving.

checking_phone

Don’t text and drive, or check Facebook while behind the wheels. Minimize distractions as much as possible. If you have a companion riding along, you can have them change the music, check the maps, or text to your friends. If you are feeling drowsy, pull over and have your passenger take the wheel, or stop for a short nap.

5. Make sure you are going the right way.

offline_area_downloadIt’s easy to focus solely on your driving or assume you’re following the proper path. By frequently checking your GPS navigation device, maps, road signs, and other relevant information; you can avoid retreading back to the proper road or having to use an alternate path. Use the latest navigation apps that are available on your Smartphone, such as Waze and Google Maps. You can get real time traffic updates and properly plan your trip. Additionally, you can download offline content with Google Maps. If you are aware that there will be areas without reception during your road trip, think ahead and download the offline content of those areas to your smartphone. You can do so by going to Maps > Offline Areas on your phone.

6. Stay entertained online or offline.

dashlinq_web_radioTo stay connected, you can get a hotspot with pre-paid data plan, or use your phone’s internet. If you will be traveling to the areas without cellular reception, prepare ahead by uploading some music/audiobooks to a USB stick and connecting it to the GROM-USB3 or GROM-MST4 device. You can also download music on your phone to listen to while you are offline. You can download your purchased music files directly from Google Music or Apple iTunes before you begin your journey. With GROM DashLinQ’s WebRadio plugin you can record your favorite pieces of music while streaming, and listen to them later while offline. If all else fails, dig up some of your old CD’s and pack them in your car.

7. Make sure your phone and other electronic devices are always charged.

car_charger

If you are not traveling alone, you probably have more than one electronic device with you such as a phone. The problem is that there are not enough power outlets in your car. Here are some useful devices that can help:

8. Plan on fueling your car and yourself.

fueling

Always make sure that you’re prepared to pull over to get more gas when you notice you only have a quarter is left. Use GasBuddy or any other smartphone app that will help you to plan for your pit-stops. You may even save some money on gas. Make sure to always carry enough water in your car and replenish your water supplies whenever there is the chance. “When I travel during summer, I always make sure to have the access to the icy water. It helps me to stay energized and hydrated”, says Rodney at GROM Audio.

If you are traveling by electric car, check http://www.plugshare.com/ to plan on your recharging wisely.

9. Get a travel pillow for your passengers .

travel_pillow

If you are the driver you need to make sure to stay focused behind the wheel (unless you are inside the self-driving vehicle). Passengers, on the other hand, can afford such a luxury as taking a nap. Travel pillows and blankets can make your passenger’s life easier, and help to avoid neck pain.

In addition, to these tips, it is also helpful to keep a checklist of everything you need and will be necessary to complete your journey. With the proper foresight and some practical sense, you can ensure that your road trip is both pleasant and hassle free.

Drive happy.

 

GROM Audio is the developer and manufacturer of state of art USB, Android and Bluetooth car kits to integrate to your factory car stereo for music, GPS and phone calls. http://gromaudio.com