Within the perimeters of designing a home entertainment system, fellow colleague Fred Miller and I created a device that encourages children to embrace their imagination and spend time outdoors capturing sounds in a unique way.
Too many children are spending time in front of screens and not engaging in outdoor activities.
Times are a changin'
Modern entertainment has inhibited children from spending time engaged in genuine activities with others and/or experiencing more of the outdoors.
“Some research suggests that screen time can have lots of negative effects on kids, ranging from childhood obesity and irregular sleep patterns to social and/or behavioral issues.”
-Juana Summers National Public Radio
"Children aged 5 to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995."
We looked at the daily activities that generally fills a child's life. Then we focused on opportunities where their time could be diverted from staring at a screen to engaging in some sort of activity, either physical, educational or creative.
Designer Jackson McConnell came up with an idea for how people with hearing disabilities could feel music. (Below) This made us curious... Could we use this same idea to capture sound the way a child hears it and play it back "visually" so they can re-live an experience in a unique way?
We thought this approach would engage children's curiosity and encourage them to go capture sounds like capturing Pokemon...
We decided to use simple shapes that were soft, round and easy to handle with enough space for us to house the components efficiently.
To refine the tangible interaction of "feeling sound". We decided a ring shape was more comforting than a complex shape like a traditional video game controller. After all, we did not want to redesign a controller but instead create something different.
A child records the sounds of their experiences or activities they participate in. Then when at home they dock the device and an algorithm would convert the sound waves into visual waves.
Sooo... How does this thing work again...?
Binaural Audio Recording
This form of audio recording captures sound just the way we hear it, this is because the microphones are shaped just like human ears. When you listen to it, the sound is perceived in 360 degrees.
These will be use tiny motors to move the pins up and down, like the way a speaker mechanism moves the speaker diaphragm back and forth.
Is made from microscopic nano hairs, applied on a surface in certain directions and with enough surface area so that it can be very strong.
Strategy to get kids outside
Our concept leverages sound technology in a new way that stimulates a child's social and intellectual development by providing them with an opportunity to explore the sounds of the world around them.