Like us elsewhere!


Subscribe - RSS feed
E-mail address:

Entries in software (4)



Always wanted to play with virtual physics-based objects in a playful way? Andrew Stewart Allen is a programmer, researcher and composer based in San Diego. His recent work is mainly focused on researching and programming physically-informed real-time interactive audio systems. His system Ruratae, which he also wrote his dissertation on, is exactly this. Ruratae is a collaboration of him with visual artist Susanna Var, who created the unique visual style and UI.

For some reason, procedural audio is still not widely used. In software and games, the same sample is often loaded and played, making for quite static behaviour. Procedural audio can make a simple interaction seem like a living, breathing thing, even if it’s just another tidbit of code. George Lucas, Danny Boyle, etcetera, they’ve all been known to say that sound is a very important part of a film. In interactive media, interactive audio has been scarce, which is a shame. The effect is very clear in Ruratae, where the smallest change makes for a totally different sonic beast!

People like Drew are pushing the boundaries and opening up lots of new possibilities with something like Ruratae. Being able to create your own instrument from scratch in a virtual world, according to physical rules, with no DSP knowledge whatsoever is a very interesting new take on audio in games and other software. If you’re a Windows user, you can try out Ruratae yourself!

As Drew is not only a technical guy but also a composer, we’ve invited him for the Five Sound Questions next week!


Mapping noise levels with WideNoise

WideNoise is an iPhone app made by WideTag for measuring noise levels wherever you go. You can use it to take a noise sample of your neighborhood and upload the data to the WideNoise website to show it on a map. 

I just tried it and apparently I live in a place with a 'sleeping cat noise level' at the moment. Probably because it's quite late in the evening, and the only thing I clearly hear outside is an airco installation on the building next to mine, and some cars passing in the distance. 

Once I uploaded my noise sample data within a second the map on the WideNoise website showed a notification about my measurement. But now I wonder what happens next. It would be nice to be able to see a more accurate heat map showing the average noise levels at places all over the world, but that's not available. Maybe more people need to use the app to accomplish this. 

I'd say it's an interesting idea but the processing and representation of the captured data needs some work. It could be surprising to see how noisy most of our cities are. Noise pollution is a serious issue.


SongExplorer: browse song galaxies

My own humble digital music collection contains roughly 15,000 songs at the moment. The larger it gets the harder it is to browse through, and if I don't remember the name of an artist or song, I tend to forget I even own the music. Browsing trough my own music collection can be quite surprising. But I don't like using the old iTunes interface. Could it be a bit more intuitive?

Carles F. Julià explores this area with his research project SongExplorer: a tabletop system for exploring musical collections. It presents the user with a 'galaxy of songs'. By touching the table in an iPhone-like manner you can browse through the collection, create and manipulate play lists, and discover relationships between songs.

I'm very interested in new ways of organizing information. I think there still is a lot to be improved in this area, even in the organization of regular files on your computer. I tried tagging my files for some time, but still didn't find a satisfying workflow. I definitely think throwing everything in one big 'box' and using some search functionality and meta-data to find things is the way to go.

Click to read more ...


iRedux: Destroy your copyrighted music!

Music and copyrights, not the most inspiring subject to talk about. It’s not very simple either in these days of illegal and legal downloads, subscription models and streaming audio. Unless you do something fun with it, like destroying the copyrighted music and creating something completely new out of it.

That’s exactly what iRedux by Oliver Farshi does. You feed it some music you bought or downloaded, and it completely destroys the file for you. Then it uses this material to create an new piece of ambient music.

Click to read more ...