Future Music

2018-19. Group project with Robert Hyde and Gabriele D’Amone, supervised by Dr Lorenzo Picinali and Dr Leila Sheldrick.

Shaping our sonic landscape and giving objects a voice with a network of intelligent transducers.

Research  •  Technology Roadmapping   •  Prototyping  •  Exhibiting  •  Concept Demonstrations  •  Teamwork  •  Max MSP  •  Touch OSC •  Premiere Pro

Future Music draws on an evaluation of trends in research and technology to propose a vision for novel audio experiences in 20 to 30 years. This vision centres on using technology to augment the potential of audio transducers (which convert electrical signals into sound / mechanical vibration) in order to create a network of intelligent, transducer-based devices that turn objects into sound sources. These devices, named ‘sound shapers’, enable one to convert their physical surroundings into an immersive and/or assistive sonic landscape.

We imagined three future scenarios for these devices’ use: creating custom, spatial soundscapes for music; capturing ‘sonic memories’, and providing navigation assistance to the visually-impaired.

Our interim video, created midway through the project, which I shot and edited.

We were invited to present the project to executives from companies including Dyson and Huawei at an Imperial Business Partners event, and exhibited prototype demonstrations of our envisioned experiences at our department Open House, March 2019 (see photos, below).

 

My contribution consisted of research, ideation, prototyping and development of our audio processing code (Max MSP) and demo interfaces (Touch OSC).

Envisioned Scenarios for Sound Shapers

Music Spatialisation

Users can distribute sound shapers in their environment and get each to play back different parts of a song. Objects’ materials and geometries will influence the nature of the sound reproduced, such that users can create custom, spatial soundscapes. We imagine that sound shapers could also listen to themselves, and calibrate for an optimal sound.

Sonic Memories

Sound shapers can record sound and accurately reproduce it accurately in 3D space.

Sonic Sight

Since different objects will produce unique sounds, we envision sound shapers being used to produce sound through objects as a system of navigation assistance for the visually-impaired.

Process

Technology Roadmapping, Ideation & Early Designs

Other technologies explored include bone conduction, parametric speakers, and advance noise cancellation.

Prototyping & Testing

Design Refinement

Experimenting with components and technologies to create mockups of our devices capable of wireless music playback through objects.

Evolution of sound shapers’ form and proposed modes of interaction.

Prototyping the Future

Preparation of exhibition materials including development of demos combining hardware and software to show our vision of future experiences.

Where We Came From, Where We're Going