by Squidsoup

We plan to create a flexible, easy to use (and easy to install) spatialised immersive audio system that can be used in theatres, galleries and other social spaces.

There are numerous approaches to spatial audio in existence, yet few seem to simply place a speaker wherever it is that you wish the sound to emanate from – instead they usually rely on phantom images between speakers that surround the audience and have limited spatial realism.

We envisage a system comprising of any number of units, each wirelessly connected and sufficiently intelligent to know what to play, and when. The system will self-calibrate and simple software will be able to position sounds dynamically, on the fly and in real time.

Imagine a theatre with speakers in front of every seat, or at random locations around the room. Rather than creating soundscapes which focus on optimal listening positions, our system will be embedded amongst the audience members and afford a new, detailed depth to immersive audio creation, exhibition and reception.

We already have the technical underpinnings of the project working and tested. Our recent project, WAVE (recently on show at Salisbury Cathedral), uses 500 wirelessly connected units to display semi-autonomous media – light and sound. Each unit has sound loaded on it, is addressed wirelessly and has an on-board processor. The audio component is ripe for development as a real-time spatialised audio system for use in a much wider range of settings: galleries, theatres, outdoor public spaces, retail spaces to name a few.

About the team

Squidsoup is a UK-based international group of artists, technologists and designers working with hybrid digital and interactive media experiences. Our work combines physical and dynamic digital spaces with novel forms of engagement to produce immersive, responsive and beguiling works that have been experienced by well over a million people on six continents in the last year alone.

The project is a collaboration with UWE Foundry Studios and Net Sensors Ltd.

UWE Foundry Studios is a student and staff powered technology hub at the University of the West of England. The team specialises in product and acoustic design

Net Sensors Ltd is a Bournemouth-based company specialising in IoT hardware design and prototyping.