UX/Interaction Design

Sonic Dimensions

Team members: Shiva Roofigari, Soheil Abd Mousavi

Role: Concept development, interaction design, video editing

Type of Project: Academic Project

Overview

“Sonic dimensions” is a project that my teammate and I created for the FCAT undergraduate conference and it was done within a timeframe of 6 weeks. This project focused on creating an immersive environment for our participant to become more conscious about the relation between sound and space and the acoustic space surrounding them.

Process

At the beginning of this project, my teammate and I brainstormed potential ideas to address the topic of “space”. We further looked into the important characteristics that define a specific space. After some preliminary research, we found a phenomena proposed by Schafer. As Schafer puts it, “In a sense, one could consider the whole sounding universe as a composition in which we are simultaneously the audience, composers and the performers” (Schafer, 1993). Being inspired by this statement, we wanted to spread this message and increase people’s consciousness about their surrounding acoustic space because in this modern world, people are often not aware and conscious about their acoustic space in urban environments. They mostly either isolate themselves by listening to loud music through digital devices, especially headphones, or act as passive listeners of their soundscape rather than being its active participants.

After finding an ideal potential area of interest, I started to take footage of different spaces in Vancouver that have different acoustic experiences. I edited the video footage using Adobe Premiere.

We used two flex sensors so that the participant could change both the volume and reverb of the sound of each of the videos. Also, we used a knob that the participant could turn and change the videos with. My teammate was involved in writing the code for  the flex sensors using Arduino. We made the circuit board for the flex sensors and the knob using an Arduino board.

After creating the connections and writing the code, I sewed in the flex sensors into a pair of gloves. The sewing part had to be very precise so that the Arduino could get the right input data and in order to result in a desired outcome.

In summary, these are the steps that the user would do after entering the room:

1. Step up on a stage

2. Put on the gloves with flex sensors

3. Put on the headphone that was provided

4. Interact with the gloves to change the volume and the reverb of the videos

They could change the videos by tuning the knob that was provided for them. The participants would then feel as a conductor of each of the spaces in videos. This would make them more aware of their responsibility and involvement in creating the acoustic characteristics of each space in their daily life.

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Results and takeaways

This project was nominated and presented at the FCAT undergraduate conference 2017. One of my main takeaways from this project was the importance of coming up with substitute plans in a short amount of time due to accessibility limits and affordability of materials and technology. One improvement that we would liked to have is to use a Bluetooth device to connect the flex sensors to the sound in order to create a more immersive environment. Sonic Dimensions was a unique and successful project, which was received greatly by a large group of professional audience.