This work describes the design of an experimental platform using a pair of headphones adapted to explore and manipulate the interpretation of proximity and touch through sound. Inspired by research in social psychology, cognitive science, cultural anthropology and fine art, this project uses practical observations to inform a series of design iterations for audio devices and interaction scenarios that draw participants into new experiences of interpersonal touch.

Sonification, interaction, interpersonal touch, design methods, electromagnetism, exhibition, museology.

And here are some of the nice images from the outline.

Figure 2: User testing of first prototype at Transmediale 2011.

Figure 3: Second prototype with stretch sensor and built-in Arduino.

Figure 4: Second prototype with covering and electromagnetic microphones.

Figure 5: User testing of second prototype and Electromagnetic Sound Walk.

Figure 6: Diagram of prototype 3.

Saul Albert is a researcher in QMUL's Cognitive Science research group.

Current research topic: Accounting for taste: aesthetic assessment in conversation

The intuition that aesthetic responses are ’subjective’, individual reactions to specific sensory stimuli often motivates research into the neural, cognitive or physiological underpinnings of aesthetic response. However, these approaches often ignore the wealth of information about people’s aesthetic responses available in social interactions and conversations around viewing or discussing artworks. This research uses Conversation Analytic techniques to explore the ways in which aesthetic assessments are accomplished in conversation, focussing on a corpus of natural conversational fragments between visitors, recorded during an exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery in London.