Soundscapes represents a project that uses a computer vision framework called reacTIVision to trigger sounds depending on the tags that are placed in front of the web camera. Mixing sounds is only one of the possible applications of this project.
The designers at Zenona made the prototype in a week and presented it at a workshop. Soundscapes involves only a webcam, fiducial markers placed on small tagged modules and a computer running reacTIVision. Still, the result is impressive and innovative.
There were 25 modules made for the project, some with ambient sounds such as rain, waves and wind, others with children playing or people talking. Mixing them could result in children playing in the waves or people talking during a windy day. These are only two examples, as the possibilities are far more numerous. The tags on the modules do not affect the tracking in any way, and they were used only for allowing the designers to know which sound is added to the mix.
As the tagged modules are placed below the fixed web camera, reacTIVision identifies them and triggers a sound on the computer from the Minim audio library. It must be noted that multiple sounds can be played simultaneously, fact that leads to very interesting combinations.
Soundscapes could prove to be very useful in music shops. People who want to purchase CDs or vinyl discs would only have to place the CD case near the tracking camera in order to hear a sample from that specific album.
Sound effects in movies would also be easier to manage and to mix with Soundscapes. Renowned studios may have a different approach, but for students and independent film makers, Soundscapes could really be a good solution. If you liked this post, please check this ambient sound lamp and the Konkreet Performer.