Sonification Apps was a Master project during the 2020/21 winter semester at the University of Bremen. The target of this project was to use sonification to get accurate information on spatial orientation. In detail, a spirit level mobile application by the name Tiltification has been developed to illustrate how sound can be used to achieve this. The auditory signal changes depending on the orientation of the device in space.
Sonification refers to the process of expressing data in auditory form in contrast or addition to visualization. Input data is used to create an audible representation of the processed information. Much like in visualization, finding an auditory form that is easily understood by the listener is crucial. Among other results, the scientific approach to sonification thereby aims at creating concepts for a sound language with a recognition factor. The scientific field, originated close to computer sciences, is strongly connected to other disciplines, such as music studies, social studies, didactics or aid for physically impaired people.
This Master project had 20 participants. In order to organize the group work, multiple teams were formed that focused on a specific topic each. Each project member was active in multiple teams which also provided for vital exchange between groups. For example, the website team was in charge of creating and maintaining this website while its members contribute to other tasks as well.
The sensors and signals team provided research and tests on how mobile phone sensors are designed and how their signals are interpreted and used in order to identify the phone’s spatial orientation. Furthermore, the team focused on how sound is created and manipulated.
The implementation team worked on realizing the app by the use of Flutter, several other libraries, and PureData. The sensors and signals team and the design team contributed the contents for the app to the implementation team, which then assessed and implemented them to the degree they were possible with the given tools.
The design team utilized creative strategies to provide for a visualization of the spirit level app in addition to the sonification. The team supported the implementation team with visual mock-ups of the app. Furthermore, other design elements such as the user interface or the app branding were developed. In collaboration with the communications and marketing team, design elements for social media posts and the marketing strategy were provided.
The communications and marketing team focused on the public display of the Tiltification app as well as the Master project itself. Together with the design team, a marketing strategy and social media posts were designed. To focus on a target group, a survey was conducted as a pre-study to the app development, in order to identify relevant features and design aspects.
The writing and research team collected, organized, and summarized relevant literature for the project in order to provide the other teams with necessary background. Throughout the project, a conference paper was be produced, followed by a project report at the end of the semester.
The project had a plenum each Friday, together with professor Tim Ziemer. Throughout the week, the teams meet individually to work on their progress.