More than a speaker, Cone’s most interesting feature is the way it learns to play what you want to hear.
"Sound is physical in some fundamental way. It’s actually a physical vibration. When I’m talking, my voice is moving through the air and actually touching you in a real way … It just feels good when you hear a noise you like.”
@—wnycradiolab’s Jad Abumrad on storytelling with sound
What does breaking news sound like? Circa, the popular mobile news app built on brevity, thinks it can name that tune in one second.
"We want something that’s going to evoke emotion, something that has a sense of urgency but not interruptions. I want something that’s going to be synthetic but inviting."
The sound of Wikipedia being updated is surprisingly relaxing.
Listen to Wikipedia, inspired by Listen to Bitcoin and created by Mahmoud Hashemi and Stephen LaPorte, transforms the worldwide editing process into a relaxed global orchestra. A celesta plays whenever an addition is made. A clavichord sounds whenever something is deleted. The higher the pitch, the smaller the edit.
This is what the sounds of dominance, excitement, and desire look like. Beyond Verbal is a firm that maps the patterns and frequency of voices expressing various emotions.
What is this technology good for, you ask?
"If, say, Apple’s Siri understood how you were feeling in addition to what you were saying, it could pull up not just a playlist, but rather a playlist that matched your mood. Politicians could use the technology to practice enhancing qualities such as leadership in their voices while giving speeches. People with Asperger’s syndrome, who often have communication difficulties, could use it to understand verbal cues that extend beyond literal words. It could even help air traffic controllers identify when pilots were under stress."
Scott Snibbe’s OscilloScoop app, a product of 15 years of research (and input from Brian Eno), lets you sculpt electronic soundscapes out of spinning shapes. Watch it in action!