Role: Sound Designer, Interaction Designer
Tools: Ableton Live, Unity3D, Audacity, MS Kinect & Asus Xtion Motion Sensors
A research collaboration between USC Mobile & Environmental Media Lab and Steelcase exploring the design implementation and technologies for an ‘office of the future’.
The project explored the concept of an office personified to be a living character. Audio design explored the personality as well as the “thoughts and emotions’ of the office using design devices such as leitmotifs and subjective character perception. A rich library of sounds was compiled by studying and prototyping the acoustic ecology of the office based on work schedules, presence of team members, and the desired mood of the workspace.
The various human and technological members of the office were given their unique soundmarks or sonic identifiers, and their communication with each other was established through a set of established sound signals, thus minimizing the need for using spoken word communication. The mood and mental state of the team members was controlled using resonance and entrainment, so that intense work sessions were accompanied by sound design that induced focus and concentration, brainstorming meetings with creativity and open free thinking, and relaxation and break times with calming and meditative qualities, thus enabling the optimal mindset for the task at hand.
These audio design devices and concepts were explored through live mixing, prototyping and testing using a bespoke surround sound audio system involving 6+ channels, a subwoofer and 3+ wireless portable speakers.
The interactive aspects of the audio design were prototyped using motion sensors such as the Kinect, so that movements within the office space triggered responses and reactions from the office itself.