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IUAV Workshop on Reactive Sounding Objects

March 15, 2009


a hands-on workshop with Stephen Barrass (Univ. Canberra, Australia)

march 9-13, 2009  –  h. 9-18
Atelier 11, Magazzino 7 (Ligabue)
Dorsoduro 1827, Venezia

Communication between artefacts can occur by a variety of different means: radio-frequency, optical, acoustic, or touch/proximity.  Among these communication means, the acoustic channel has some advantages as it allows continuous monitoring by humans. Moreover, the sonic behavior of objects contribute to the overall aesthetic experience and, therefore, it is a dimension that product designers should carefully consider.

In order to work creatively and functionally with sound, the tools and methods of sound analysis and synthesis need to be mastered and exploited. This often implies the use or development of sophisticated programs that run on general-purpose computers. But such computers are difficult or expensive to embed in everyday objects where, at most, the designer can afford using a microcontroller and some cheap electronics.

Purpose of this workshop is to push the limits of audio processing in microcontroller-based boards. We will try different combinations of sound synthesis/analysis techniques and audio/vibratory transducers. If successful, the workshop will lead to prototype objects that can communicate with each other by simple sound signals that are meaningful to humans as well.

Materials: Arduino microcontroller boards; force, light, flexion, and magnetic sensors; contact microphones; piezo transducers; loudspeakers and amplifiers; etc.

Participants: Stephen Barrass will be assisted by Davide Rocchesso, Stefano Delle Monache, and Pietro Polotti. The workshop is open to a maximum of six full-time participants and to a few occasional visitors.

Davide Rocchesso – IUAV
Department of Art and Industrial Design

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