June 2014

  • Tangible UI
  • Audio synthesis
  • SuperCollider
  • Arduino

In collaboration with Bethany Snyder, Amalia Goutaki, Claudia Ciarpella, Saurabh Datta and Yashodeep Gholap at CIID

While open spaces have been praised for enabling group creativity, they tend to negatively impact productivity. Distractions and interruptions constantly block our concentration and group discussions leak from one cluster to another.

Hover is an attempt to solve the problem of noise in open spaces. Rather than trying to reduce the noise of a room, Hover increases the overall sound level by injecting white noise into the environment. This may seem counterintuitive, but distracting noises are not loud on an absolute scale, they are loud relative to the average sound level. If that level is increased, undesirable sounds have to be much louder for them to be distracting.

Hover features a transparent tube that contains a ball that levitates inside it. It uses a microphone to detect the general sound level of a room. The louder the room gets, the higher the balls levitates. The people around it need to be quieter for the ball to be lower. If the sound reaches a certain threshold, the ball flies out of the tube.

Hence, Hover provides constant physical feedback to people about how loud they are being. At the same time, it compensates for distracting sounds by raising the overall sound level.