Sound Crit

Generate sounds related to an environment that make the environment easier to use for people who might have issue with collecting data via sight or physical capabilities.  This includes data they might not be able to perceive, say “how many people are in the elevator coming to my floor?” or “when will my bus arrive at my bus stop?”

Universal design and accessibility are good starting places.  I work with a lot of heat when I’m in the studio, welding metal or working with glass.  As we usually say (rather loudly) while going to the first-aid box, “hot metal looks just like cold metal” or “hot glass looks just like cold glass”.  I have temperature probes but they require me using both hands while looking at a screen.  How can I get an audible warning that I’m about to touch something dangerously hot?

Class notes, 29 October, 2020

Non-instrument sounds used in music


Tour de France, use of bicycle/human sounds as part of a song:
Autobahn, which I talked about but we didn’t listen:

Art of Noise is another band that used sampling to bring non-instrument noises to music:
Another song using the orchestral hit, Close (To the Edit):

German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten uses found objects for percussion and background tambre:

Cultural conflation

M.I.A. has western/asian drifter culture as part of a video shot in Morrocco in support of a movement to let women legally drive cars.

Environmental sound

why is this machine so quiet?

what is all the computation happening in this machine?
how is this different from a Trader Joe’s microwave-meal-box?

Colorblind simulator

Maria asked a question about how to express color as sound.  One place to start this sort of research is a colorblind simulator:

Mini Assignment 9

  1. nut allergy: Co-living with people who just met you, makes it difficult to always remember about your food allergies. If not properly cleaned, some of the ingredients you are allergic to, may have come into contact with surfaces. Sound production when nuts have touched specific areas.
  2. When you are stressed, house should automatically produce calm sounds or light condition, that could help you calm down and force you into short breaks from studying.
  3. Never been locked out by your flatmates. Notify if everybody is home/returned, so that people know when to lock the door.

Mini assignment 9

  • Elevators in my tall apartment building (22 floors) can take a long time to arrive because we’re limited to 1 household per elevator trip. If there are multiple people waiting for elevators during ‘rush hour’ (and yes there is still rush hour during covid times, many people walk their dogs at the same time) it’d be good if a chirping sound was made before I’m about to leave the house.
  • The recycling area in my apartment building is usually overflowing; I wish that a sound would be made if it’s empty so I can immediately bring my recyclables over.
  • It can be hard to stay on top of perishables in the fridge, both stocking what I need (e.g. eggs, bananas, milk etc.) and making sure that I consume food in an orderly manner (First in, First out) so if the fridge could make a sound to remind me if I need to replenish something or if I need to consume something soon.
  • My white whale in cooking is making toast in my oven. Unlike boiling / frying, there is little sensory feedback (smell, sound, sight, etc.) on how hot the burner is and I often end up burning my bread. I wish that the oven would tell me once it was done.
  • I have a humidifier and air purifier – I wish they would let me know when their filters needed changing.
  • When my keys are not in their appropriate storage place, I wish that they would make a sound to remind me to place them back.
  • If I wake up and we might have a few hours of sunshine that day, I wish my home would encourage me to go outside by playing a spritely tune when I get out of bed in the morning.
  • If I haven’t meditated that day, I wish my meditation chair could make a sound to call this to my attention when my roommate isn’t on work calls.

Mini Assignment 9

  • a song clothes washer/dryer plays when the cycles are finished. They are in a closet so sometimes they go unnoticed even though the cycles are finished.
  • Some sound effect that plays before I head out to let me know if it is raining or snowing outside. It is very frustrating to realize I need to go back up to grab an umbrella when I already went all the way down.
  • Sound effect that reminds me that the defrost is finished in the sink. It usually takes about 90 minutes and I can forget about it from time to time.
  • Plays a very happy song when package arrives. Sometimes I don’t know they are already here because they are in the leasing office.
  • A voice line to remind me to head out 5 minutes before the bus arrives. There is a bus stop near my apartment and it would be nice if I can get to the stop right before the bus comes.

Mini Assignment 9

What sounds would you add to your house to make it more accessible?

  • I sometimes plug in the phone/tablet/laptop charger, but not to the devices, so when I wake up in the morning, things are out of battery. A sound that reminds me to plug in the devices would be helpful.
  • When filling water in a rush, I leave the kettle empty, and when I need water again later, I have to wait for the water to boil. A sound that reminds me to fill up the kettle befoe I need water should help.
  • Lights that are accidentally left on over night!
  • This one is far from realistic, but finding things within the house is not easy! Especially when it involves climbing up the stairs… so if somehow the house can know where things are and make sounds…

Mini assignment 9

What sounds would you add to your house to make it more accessible?

  • Pretty much every gadgets in my house talk/play sound when something happens (even the cat feeder..or the toilet..) but one thing I wish is my studio room!! As you can tell from my past projects I have many issues with my studio regarding my health! Wouldn’t it be nice for my studio room to have a detector that tells me how toxic the air level is right now..
  • Or I want some sound that tells me how the water temperature is just right when I shower. Like when the water’s temperature reaches the user’s set temperature, it makes a sound.
  • My dad tends to fall asleep while he is boiling something on the stove, and it sometimes overflows. He says that he wishes that the sound could tell him that the stove is overheating.

Mini Assignment 9

One sound that would be really helpful for our house is a certain song playing as a notification if all our garbage/recycling cans aren’t in their spots on our driveway at 5:30 PM on Wednesdays. This would be a great reminder to take them off the curb so we don’t get in trouble with Pittsburgh.

Another helpful sound inspired by Jet’s weather example is a tone that would be played as we are leaving the house if it’s late afternoon/ early evening and the temperature is supposed to drop by 10 or more degrees. This could be a useful reminder to get a(nother) jacket if you aren’t already prepared for the temperature change. This is more important with everyone spending so much time inside.

Finally, a last helpful sound I thought of is if a package is delivered to have the doorbell ring if the delivery person had not done so. It seems that this year it is up in the air whether there is a notification that a package has arrived.


Mini-assignment 9

What sounds would you add to your house to make it more accessible?

Some examples

  • your thermostat plays a song right before turning on the heat or air conditioning so you know you’ll need to turn up the volume on the TV.
  • the songs my water boiler, rice cooker, and clothes washer play when they are ready/done
  • a song my clothes dryer plays when the cycle is finished
  • weather forecast sounds using rain and thunder, but what about a sunny day or a day with snow?