Sound and Habitat Audio Prototyping Environment (SHAPE) is a collection of nature-inspired electroacoustic devices created for sound art in public spaces. It is part of an ongoing audio feedback research project at the Center For New Music and Audio Technologies. By repurposing old electronics and manufactured objects, low-cost materials are used to make interactive sound sculptures and musical instruments. Subtle gestures and actions by participants change the sound in real-time.

The project attempts to question the dichotomy between sound art and common environmental sounds through a zero-waste, recology framework. With the SHAPE, natural and synthetic materials converge; construction and deconstruction hold equal weight; raw materials reclaim another existence; and sounds from unusual sources expand into fully resonating bodies.

Audio transfer is based on two input types for each device; a piezoelectric contact mic and an electret air mic. These elements combine to sense both vibration in material and pressure waves in the air. Sound energy is then converted into a(n) analog and digital signal. Both analog and digital electronic environments are highly programmable—allowing for quick on-site prototyping.

Aside from the PCB fabrication, smartphone, and case construction, all of the e-components for these devices can be found easily in old discarded speaker systems and reused. Other proprietary devices such as the iRig and ROCK-IT are used but currently being reverse engineered for future integration. Open-source software such as Pure Data and MobMuPlat make any Android or iOS device compatible with this system—thus facilitating second-hand use of virtually all smartphone models. Considering the portability and cost-effectiveness of this project, the SHAPE is particularly adept at facilitating outdoor applications such as sound installations or musical performances.

PEOPLE:
> Mia Mirkovic, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
> Satcher Hsieh, Physics
> Jason Cress, Music Composition
> Alois Cerbu, Mathematics

DEVICES:
> Bloom (2019), a flower-like piezo self-drive oscillator
> Tone (2019), a tree-like waveguide with eletret mic array and spherical glass loudspeaker
> Bulb (2019), an onion-like analog resonating semi-sphere with rotating aperture
> Flow (2019), an air-duct resonator with digital processing
> FRED (2018), Feedback Resonance Emitting Device
> Larsen (2017), an open cylinder waveguide system with digital processing

Additional Project Images