Disney Research Demonstrates Sound Transmission Thru Touch – There are several Disney Research Labs around the world. The labs work on such areas as video processing, computer vision, robotics, computer graphics, wireless and mobile computing, human-computer interaction, behavioral sciences and materials research. The Pittsburgh lab has come up with an amazing interactive installation which addresses physicality and intimacy in digital audio communication. A signal is transmitted to a person’s body when holding a microphone. The signal can be transmitted by physical contact, from body to body. The recorded sound becomes audible only when touching someone’s ear. The sound can be heard only by the specific ear which is touched, as if the finger would be whispering the recorded sounds. Secrets, messages and whispers can then be transmitted from person to person in physical contact with each others. Bodies become a broadcasting medium for intimate, physical, sound communication. The installation is called Ishin-den-shin after a Japanese mantra which represents interpersonal communications thru unspoken mutual understanding. It is sometimes explained in English terms of telepathy or sympathy.
Disney Researchers ‘2nd Screen’ Experiences Using Smartphones – A system developed by Disney Research of Zurich, Switzerland, uses the normal sound system of public venues such as movie theaters, stadiums and displays to transmit text, games or other information to smartphones using only an audio signal. The smartphones carried by many in the audiences provide not only a means for viewing supplementary content, but also an ad hoc mic network to help transmit sound among all participants in the venue. Special content is encoded within the audio programming of the venue. Groups of connected smartphones serve as a mic network to receive the encoded messages and share them with one another using their built-in Wi-Fi. One of the phones decodes the messages and shares them with the rest of the network. No additional speakers are necessary and normal volumes are maintained. Audience members can choose whether or not to connect their smartphones to the network. The further away a smartphone is from the speakers the more likely the signal is to be lost or humbled, but that’s why all the smartphones are joined into a distributed network, so the data stream is shared and errors can be identified and corrected. The more smartphones are in use on the network, the better the quality of the data for everyone.
New Website Makes Uncommon Classical Music Easier to Obtain – The imaginative site Expedition Audio has been created for the online music store HB Direct. Its content-rich pages set out to bring lesser-known classical CDs from small and independent record labels to the wide audience they deserve (which we fully support). They post new music reviews daily (as we do) and have over 110 recommended albums on the website, many including world premiere recordings. Sound clips of complete tracks are provided for all the albums on their YouTube channel. They feel that variety is especially important for exploring music. Icons on each album indicate the music’s time period, composition type, and how tonal it is. Great idea!