spore

2019
Sound Design
Product Design

2 week design sprint

Challenge
We were given one day to brainstorm on a random topic that we would explore deeper within sound design. The topic chosen was plants and their activity/communication. The project was done together with the Interaction Programme at Umeå Institute of Design, so we could blend our skillset together and create something unique. I worked together with Oliver Weglinski, Inna Zrajeva and Bastian Reichhardt.

Approach
Our approach was to explore how we can create life-centered design and combine Qualia experiences in the world of technology. Plants are living beings and have a language, but it's hard to understand as a human. We wanted to explore ways of visualizing the activity, behaviour and communication of plants through sound.

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We wanted to create a product that connects the plant and the human, in an equally devided relationship. Instead of creating yet another product that tells the human when the plant needs water, we wanted to explore further into how they communicate their behaviour as living beings. Creating a product that enables the human to explore theses behaviours and learn to recognise patters and sounds to get to know the plant.

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To test out or initial ideas we used moisture sensors to generate actual sounds from plants. We also added water to hear the difference is tones that was generated. A lot of mockups and fast prototypes were also constructed to communicate the ideas between the group members. 
We also used our own sound recordings for every sound effect, to gain full control of the outcome.

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The product contains three main units. The charging tray, the plant sensor and the speaker unit. Everything is gathered on the plate when in passive / charging mode. The node is put into the selected plant that you want to listen to. The speaker could either be still on the plate or carried with you to bed for sleep, kitchen for cooking, or whatever you might be up to. The speaker has three rings that controls three different sound-scapes. The growth, the mood and the photosynthesis.

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Outcome
The project was very fun and just working on it for two quick weeks was challenging. We managed to create a finished product, together with a physical model, video and a complete landscape of sounds. The final outcome was very appreciated my our mentors and also created a lot of thoughts and awareness of this topic.

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