Industrial design student Elin Ökvist created a project for her exam, in collaboration with Hakan Lidbo, based on the idea of Augmented Audio Reality. A system that shut out all surrounding sounds and replace them with augmented, processed or added geo-specific sounds. A disturbing sound environment can be replaced with a pleasant one. an information layer with sounds (café noise from a café, warning noise at a crosswalk, real-time public transport information when getting close toa bus station etc). As a tool for visually impaired and for anyone who want to enhance their urban life with a sonic super power.

Elin Ökvists Bachelor thesis 2017 problem: noise is the environmental problem that affects most people in the world. Noise is usually defined as unwanted sound, so sound that is appreciated by a person, can therefore be noise to another. In our modern society, noise is everywhere and our core problem is that it’s not a voluntary process. As with our eyes, we don’t have the skill to just choose, turn down or shut off what we want to listen to - either we have to endure the noise or feel forced to mask it by for example listening to music. My mission as mentioned, hearing is a involuntary process that we humans don’t have the manual skillset to control. Listening however is a voluntary act where we try to make sense out of the noise we hear and requires a concious action. My mission and focus will be how to give us the power to control what sounds we want to enter and being recieved by our brain by strengthening our hearing skill. This projects purpose is to explore what sound can be than it already is and to dream up new ways for people to interact and experience sound. Solution how? By creating a affordable audio tool (headphones) that could give the user the power to personalize his/her sound experience. Why? To give the free choice of a more humancentered sound experience. Where and for whom? The tool should be accessible for everyone but mainly for people in bigger cities where the noise level is higher. When? Today/ in the near future. Most of the technique that i have in vision is already there and has existed for more than 30 years - but not in this context. Imagine a system that is connected to a pair of headphones. The headphones i have in mind will roughly have the same function as a pair of peltor hearing protection. The problem however is that these kind of hearing protection is non-contextual in the everyday life content i have in mind and would therefore be to uncomfortable and unpractial to be worn in a daily basis. Background: millennial trends today we have a trend that people move around the earth, we jetset, want to explore, work abroad and maybe change our lifestyle and therefore move to different cities. What we can see is a world that are becoming smaller but at the same time bigger in the sense that we can access more of the world and explore more areas that are completely blanc to us. Specified design problem unlike a place that you already have been, you know what decisions to make based on your knowledge and experience. But when coming to a new place, you as a human being is faced, not only one - but is being overwhelmed by several new questionmarks and choices and don’t really know where to go or what to do. Area to improve/solution what needs to be done is a system that works like a tool that can provide the urban nomad with knowledge so he/she can have the best possible condition to make the “right” decision and get the best experience in an unknown environment, as possible. Limitation as today, we orient ourselves alot in sound. But if we could strengthen it with a digital layer, we could orient ourselves even better. Brief how can sound guide the urban nomad to make a personalized choice in an unknown environment? How many did travel abroad in 2016? According to close to unwto (un world tourism organization) 1 billion international tourists has traveled in the first nine months of 2016. Urban nomad definition: “a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place to place, usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to the state of the pasturage or food supply.” Orientation in an unknown environment today the struggle today while orienting through different options/places etc. Is that it’s very uneffective and the choice you make is very active. To clear what i mean is that you have to ask your phone what you need to know, tap that into the phone and thereafter for example follow the direction of the navigation instructions on it. We solve the problem today, otherwise we would never even dare to take ourselves to a new place - but it’s unefficient. How we solve it is by googling, asking people, research about it in advance or guess. So what’s the problem with these methods? By guessing you would most likely go wrong. Googling takes time, it’s exhausting and you can google on the wrong things. This also requires that you in order have to know what to google. For that matter, the existing systems today is not very humancentered/ easy to use, for example navigation on your smartphone. Benefits with a sound system the power of sound will add so much more to the experience and connect the headphone with the nomad right away. Due to a screenless approach this system will be more intuative and the user will also be more aware of his/her surrondings compared to the existing systems today. Target group concept idea: find your sounds the overall idea is to strengthen the sense that we pretty much lost with our hearing by (as said) making a system that works like a tool that can provide the nomad with knowledge and suggestions on options. These options are based on what the system thinks can give the best possible condition for the nomad to orient, make the “right” decision and get the best experience in an unknown environment as possible. How the concept could work: the sound system: “focus” what if the system could learn how to recognize a transient, and take some sort of fingerprint in every sequence and then divide it in high, mid and lows etc.? Then the system could become more intelligent and the options and suggestion would be better. Today with ar, you can see a digital layer that’s on top of a physical so: why shouldn’t it be possible to do that with sound too? There could be a library in the system where you can choose different moods, like set scenes or augumented filter that could help the user to personalize their sound experience. For example: what if you could replace, mask or add sound with a digital sound on a geospecific place with example a info layer, music layer, nature sound layer, food layer, navigation layer etc. The headphone could have a built in compass. Imagine an environment that we geoplaced out sounds in, what then if the sound could respond to a physical layout of a landscape? The system could be connected to a pair of noise cancelling headphones that could have a mic that records the sound, process it and play the sound that you want focus on. With a pair of headphones that had the skill to cancel noise, how could they still make you stay aware on your surronding? And what if you also could adjust and add sound? Noise cancelling augumented audio re- geospecified sounds equalizer potential technical aspects the headphones could have a mic that records the sound around you, processes it and then plays it depending on what you want to hear, i.e. Some sort of hearing protection headphone that takes away the sound and them replaces it with digital sound. For example: when you’re on the bus. You don’t even have to look at the sign that tells you where you are, the headphone is reminding you when it’s time to jump off to the next station, because the system knows that. What my concept solves with this system you can always have nice sound regardless wherever you are and you can get a whole another connection with your environment. Highlight it’s important to underline that the systems’ purpose is to only work as a tool and that the active election lies with the user. Because the system will never know you better than you know yourself. Another important aspect to highlight is that the system will not give you orders on what to do. It’s purpose is to come up with options/suggestions on what it thinks you would like, based on knowledge and experiences that you carry with you since before and other information that already exists and is stored like google maps, wikipedia etc. “how do i find spots and where do i find them?” This flowchart down below shows only a few examples of what the system could help the urban nomad with in an unknown environment such as needs, what you have to understand, desires etc. As you’ve read in the previous pages, my idea for this system is quite complex. Considering that i only have less than 9 weeks to do my degree work, i will choose to focus on one area that i feel is the most interesting in a human-centered perspective and suitable to get my vision through. This area will be my inner sphere but i will have the bigger sphere in consideration. Other aspects/ usage scenarios for the system understand geographic transport sense of area how the city is connected localisation navigation find logding club markets work meetings cinema memories from the city museum audio guide sight seeing find oasis/experience the city in its esse. Cafe bar gym walking tracks parks chill out spots views social interests events find life find personalspots discover culture find friends leave city when you want a system that covers your back when you’re walking home in the nights, by choosing safe uplighten routes. When you’re out for a jog and want to experience the sound of nature, hear the river flows, birds etc. When you’re on the train and need to study. What about escaping in your mind to that beach you where in hawaii? When you want to listen to music that suits your more of the day while cycling and still be aware of your surrondings. You’re walking in rome and looking at ruines that makes you curious of it’s history. When you’re hungry and unsure where you should eat. When you want to shut off the traffic noises. When you’re uncertain when or where to get off. When you’re in a busy restaurant while having a intimate conversation limitations travel cost 2x flight ticket sthlm 2x flight ticket umeå 200 sek 200 sek 500 sek 800 sek 800 sek 350 sek 400 sek 100 sek 500 sek 500 sek 2000 sek total: 6350 = 6500 sek sketch paper div. Pens pu 0.7 (ca) paint putty knife details/ interaction parts 3d-print paper and print poster sketching material model scale 1:1 packaging presentation the budget is preliminary and can change over the projects time. The travelling between umeå and stockholm is planned trips that me, håkan, peoplepeople and potential collaboration partner such as google should discuss and come up with within our plan meeting in january 2017. Google augumented audio reality is something that should be interesting for them if their goal is to map the whole world. So for example: geospecific sound placement would be seen as a oppurtunity in their system and an example could be to add information in a crossing. Instead of looking in a phone, there could be sounds that navigates where you have to go to find the right place. Håkan lidbo supervisor. He will play a central key role in my project and which purpose is to provide knowledge on the table and ideate with. He has both skills within the field and knows people that could push this concept as far as possible such as sound designers, architects, composers and music producers. The most benefital and effective for this project will be that instead that i should contact his people, everything goes through him. Peoplepeople will push the formlanguage in the right direction. Provide information about production costs etc. Considering that they are in the sound field as well, they could also provide with experience and knowledge. Potential collaboration partners budget primarly budget research in my research phase i want get some responds what both sounds professionals such as sound engineers, technichans, artist but also visually impaired think of my concept. If it’s possible, what techniques i could look into to achieve my vision, what works and not but also what the users opinion of this kind of product and system in the future. Analysis the system and product that i’m trying to achieve is as described, pretty complex. Because my main goal is to do personalized human centered headphones. The users in my user studies will be the biggest and most important source of my project. The first study will be a rough soundwalk so the user could get a sense of what it could feel like to use this kind of system. It would be performed by adding sound on existing sounds. So the user in this case would play the sound and then walk in the same pace as the audio plays, in a specific set environment so it’s contextual with the sound. Analysis ideation refinement delivery a valuable thing in this case would be to gather a few people with different needs and interest why and they would like to use these headphones as a tool. Therefore i would have to do different kind of soundwalk scenarios. Example: the navigator, the decision anxiety etc. My hypothesis would be that i then more clearly can study a behaviour, possibilities how the user could interact with this kind of system in the best way, and also find flaws and improvement areas that could arise in these scenarios. If possible, it would be great if the same user testing personas could stick with me through out my bachelor thesis so i could get a better evaluation and progress in my work. I believe that it would be more beneficial to ideate with the people who’s more involved in the project rather then finding new test pilots to each user study. I believe they would have more valuable opinions in the user studies if i want to change/improve something in the system and want to try it out. Expected result my expectations for the final result is to have created a tool that gives the user a more contextual realistic and human centered sound than there is today. Other expectations would be a physical model,visual report and presentation material. Persona #1: the traveller (focus: navigation) persona #2: the impaired (focus: strengthen sense) persona #3: emotions (focus: regulate mind) persona #4: joy (focus: music, pleasure) ideation after the first session consulting with these people, i’ll compile all the information i’ve gathered and enter the ideation phase where the information will be define the problem. In this phase there will be two workshop or brainstorm sessions, one at the umeå institute of design and one at my collaboration company. This will hopefully generate more material for the project to continue working with and define my concept even more. After evaluation of different concepts, one concept will be chosen to work further with. This phase should be achieved relatively fast considering that the project only is in 9 weeks. Discussions about aesthetics, functions and humanity will be an important part of this phase. Process 7 8 9 10 11 12 timeplan prep for stockholm visit plan important footage to document both picture & movie prepare visit to stockholm. (collaboration partner) + sound professionals + håkan questionary stockholm. Meet up håkan build rough prototype soundwalk to take back to umeå for soundwalk testing. Stockholm. Håkan. Build mock-up app for the sound walk? Plan workshop in umeå stockholm. Evaluate prototype with soundengineers, architects, music producers etc. & interview stockholm. Stockholm. Stockholm. Stockholm. Show and evalutate prototype for collaboration partner. Compile information stockholm. Contact co. Partner discuss the process so far compile info. Concept phase. Define exact problem. Loose sketches. Sketch phase #1 discuss materials system freeze! Sketch phase #1 three concept choose 1 talk to sound engineer + håkan, possible? Change? Sketch phase #1 drawings:proportions & volume prepare frame in plywood/pu > clay workshop. Document form searching in clay workshop document form searching in clay workshop document report sketches system/ mock-ups product document sketches/mockups (prepare/workshop personas) document feedback on concept and user studies with personas. Document pic+mov compile the results and prepare for co.partner report contact co.partner and discuss possibilties compile + håkan evaluate mock-ups and sketches. User studies with personas cad (don’t forget material thickness & other aspects acc. To the milling machine etc.) Refine sketches cad document printscreen report refine model sketch/clay workshop discuss material compile & evalutate. Maybe do some changes? Moodboards: form function material moodboards: form function material define what exact problem that’s need to be solved report presentation of project brief supervisor prepare workshop compile information from workshop. Begin report. Contact håkan edit photography in ps prepare workshop (interview personas, material, soundwalk route) document pic+movie prepare workshop (interview personas, material, soundwalk route) document pic+movie workshop document footage and movie 13 -17 20 -25 27 -3 6-10 13-17 20-25 checkpoint checkpoint supervisor supervisor supervisor 6 m t o t f 6-12 13 14 15 16 17 20 18 m t o t f storytelling course make movie shoot send report, log, portfolio business card = print exhibition planning interaction lab? Cad soundfile? Text headphones stand workshop build exhibition planning interaction lab? Cad soundfile? Text headphones stand workshop build exhibition planning interaction lab? Cad soundfile? Text headphones stand workshop build exhibition planning interaction lab? Cad soundfile? Text headphones stand workshop build exhibition planning interaction lab? Cad soundfile? Text headphones stand workshop build make movie shoot make movie gather all old material and the new one start editing make movie start editing make movie edit final practice presentation prepare script movie practice presentation prepare script movie presentation, poster, packaging report = done! Prepare script cad design freeze! Contact engineer document printscreen * note = maybe you have to replan the packaging part if you’re going to send in your drawings to a company. Cad cad freeze! Render presentation pictures then render them in ps (1900x1080) render over keyshot pic in photoshop start with presentation layout modelmaking milling/print document pic & movie presentation layout modelmaking. Kliché? Document pic & movie presentation modelmaking spraypaint document pic & movie put together model model freeze! Document pic & movie graphic design: presentation + manuscript packaging poster presentation + manuscript packaging poster contact co. Parter result presentation + manuscript packaging poster report discuss presentation. Modelmaking document pic & movie report render in ps over keyshot pictures. Final touches cad contact co.partner about result write text to presentation to know which frames to render finalize final touches if you need to change 27-31 something 3-7 25-28 15-19 2-5 10-14 17-21 supervisor supervisor supervisor supervisor supervisor checkpoint supervisor checkpoint supervisor print all the graphics. Cut out packaging architect school. Finalize presentation. Practice presentation start planning exhibition report finished practice presentation plan exhibition. Phone calls? Booking? Examination compile information edit photo + movie