Experience Design using Bone Conduction

Skilful Minds reminded readers about place-based story  experiences like [murmur] recently after I visited the Missouri Botanical Gardens (MoBot) to see the Niki exhibit. The Niki exhibit showed forty mosaic sculptures done by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002). Each concept used cell phones to either allow visitors to places to share stories about the place, as in [murmur], or allow visitors to listen to stories about specific exhibit items, as in the Niki exhibit.

Yanko Design showcased a design recently called touched echo developed by Markus Kison. Touched echo makes a place-based story experience available to visitors without the use of devices like cell phones. Although the technology was anticipated in an early experiment by Laurie Anderson called the Handphone Table, applying it to place-based stories is a new and innovative experience design. The design works by using bone conduction for hearing rather than transmitting audio waves through the air.

Taking their cue from a metallic icon attached to the railing. When visitors place their elbows on a railing while pressing their hands over their ears to their skull, they hear the air raid sirens and bombs dropping as they did in Dresden Germany in 1945.

 

“‘Touched Echo’ is a minimal medial intervention in public space. The visitors of the Brühl’s Terrace (Dresden, Germany) are taken back in time to the night of the terrible air raid on 13th February 1945. In their role as a performer they put themselves into the place of the people who shut their ears away from the noise of the explosions. While leaning on the balustrade the sound of airplanes and explosions is transmitted from the swinging balustrade through their arm directly into into the inner ear (bone conduction)…”

“The sound is not transmitted in air and through the middle ear but instead through the skull bone. To send the sound over the arm and hand to the skull bone, the railing of the Brühlsche Terasse is equipped with several custom made sound conductors and set into a vibration.”

You can view people experiencing Touched Echo below:

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