Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Extra senses, Extra Interference Juan&Pablo final report

Extra Senses Extra Interference [AS Research Group]
May 2009 – Final Report
listening without ears [project codename]
by Juan Cantizzani and Pablo Sanz Almoguera

- a description of the extra sense you have made
It consists in a system based in a bone conduction interface for sound and the sonification of electromagnetic emissions.

- what does it sense ?
electromanetic emissions (VLF close range or high frequency -100mhz to 2.5GHz aprox-)

- how is this information translated to something we can perceive ?
the electromagnetic emissions are sonified within the audible range and transmitted to the choclea via bone conduction through the skull.

- what can be communicated through this sense ?
the pressence of electromagnetic fields, devices, transmissions, etc (wifi networks, electronic appliances, phone calls, antennas, etc)

- how does it work technically ?
To pick up the em emissions there are a couple of different EM sniffers (one for VLF and one for high frequency), attached to the body with a bracelet. The close range VLF sniffer has a coil that works as a detector. This detector is attached to a stick, operated by the user in order to scan electronic devices and perceive their EM emissions.

The audio output of these devices is feed through a bone conduction/tactile wearable sound system. The interface is based in three small solenoids sewed to a elastic head band, they are directly feed from an ampllifier (not portable in this version).

- how did you expect this sense to change our everyday perception and behaviour ?
hypothetically it could increase our awareness towards the pervasive electromagnetic activity in our everyday environments.

- how does the extra sense change the perception of the world around you ? - (how) does the extra sense change the way you behave in the world around you ?
It adds an extra layer of sound to our everyday perception, that besides of the aesthetical pleasure (if you like noise) can provide information about the EM emissions of specific electronic devices and EM fields present in some areas. The final outcome of this depends of the possible reaction of each person to this. It could be addictive for noise enthusiasts or scare other people about electromagnetic emissions.

- how did your project develop and change over time ?
We focused for most of the time in the research and building of the bone conduction interface, that was our main curiosity for this project. We found different solutions and tried a couple of them. After finding the solenoids as a nice and doable solution within our time constraints, we focused in getting several of them and building the interface. Regarding the input, it worked quite straightforward from what it was planned (also because we got a already made circuit), even though we think some improvements and changes could be tried, for example regarding the coil to probe devices, limiting the frequency ranges or doing a more complex sonification of the input.

- what happend as you expected and what unexpected things took place?
We learned a lot researching about bone conduction/tactile sound for this project and also building the interface, on which process some tests were more successful that others. Even if it was not suitable for this device, we found quite interesting our first tests with piezo drivers as valuable for others projects. Finding the quite simple diy solution of the solenoids for our interface was a surprise. Getting the EM sniffers is nice since they will be useful for other projects too.


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