Aural Reef

Zoe Bachman

A translation device that allows humans to speak to coral.


Aural Reef is a translation device that takes human speech and transforms it into coral reef noise in an attempt to help restore reef populations. 27% of the world's coral reefs has been lost. If present rates of destruction are allowed to continue, 60% of the world's coral reefs will be destroyed over the next 30 years. 2016 is on track to experience the worst coral bleaching events yet – after similar episodes in both 2015 and 2014.

What if we could talk to coral and what if those messages actually did something helpful?

Research has shown that the noisier a reef is, the healthier it is. Scientists are starting to use audio as a way of quickly monitoring the state of a reef. Studies show that coral larvae and young fish are attracted to the sounds of the reef, guiding them to coastal areas and allowing them to identify suitable settlement habitats. Researchers found that when they installed underwater speakers playing coral reef noise, the baby coral inevitably swam toward the speakers, even when the speaker was above them (the larvae have a natural tendency to swim downward).

Aural Reef is a prototype of a telecommunication device that enables humans to communicate with coral and help in reef restoration through audio translation. A Max/MSP patch detects the presence and pitch of the voice, then alters and plays back a coral reef noise sound file so that it matches. The idea is that the more people speak, it will generate artificial reef noise which will draw larvae to deppopulated reef structures and assist in regrowing coral colonies.

I’m currently using a regular mic, but I want to construct an object that takes the sound of a person’s voice and outputs the coral reef translation to an underwater speaker. In a real setup, the speaker would be installed in a reef, tethered to a fiber optic cable and a satellite connection to the device.

Aural Reef is a project by Zoe Bachman, designed and programmed by Zoe with Aarón Montoya, co-programmer.


Temporary Expert: Design + Science in the Anthropocene

Alone With My Phone

Denny George

Alone With My Phone is a first-person narrative story in which the user participates with their smartphone. It is a story about loneliness that uses sensory input like location and speech as plot devices to take the user through a journey of self-reflection with humor to help express some universal truths and remind users that they are not alone.


The central premise of my story is how a communication device's inability to help the protagonist communicate effectively leads to their growing sense of loneliness. The promise of internet and smartphones is that they are meant to bring people together but ever so often they are used as an excuse to avoid acknowledging each other in public. In the story, the app makes the user participate in a series of tasks trying to connect him/her with other people but inevitably fail. My project tries to tap into common smartphone behaviors of people to facilitate a direct encounter with loneliness rather than distracting them from it. The overall tone of the story is humorous and I hope it highlights the absurdities of technology aided communication.




Teresa Lamb

My project is a garment that translates the natural rhythm of knitting into sound in order to connect the wearer more deeply to their process.


Will cyborgs knit? Cyberknitics is the study of how emerging technology can enhance – not replace – the experience of making something by hand. Crafting is calming, healing, communal, expressive and empowering. It fills a basic human desire that transcends its utility. My work explores what it means to be a crafter now, and what it will mean in the future.

My project is a harness-like vestment that translates the motion of knitting into sound. As someone who knits, I have become increasingly interested in how to capture and convey the natural rhythm of the craft. The music is meant to inspire a stronger connection between the knitter and their process, and to invite the audience to engage with the spiritual practice of creating something from nothing.



Web Jam Session

Nicola Carpeggiani

A digital music workstation, that allows users to make music and share the project with other musicians.


Web Jam Session is a webpage that allows the user to create musical sequences and melodies, with the built-in sequencer and keyboard. The difference between this project and others music production softwares is that the user can share the project with another musician, to create a “shared”musical piece.
The webpage has two main instruments, one step sequencer, that allows the user to write musical sequences with mouse and a synthesizer.
The synthesizer is a Tone.js Polysynth that allows to play 4 keys simultaneously; the user can create melodies using the keyboard as a piano keyboard.


Interactive Music


Brett Stiller

A pair of 'Partnered' I/O's that facilitate and make tangible the simple human exchange of a long-distance 'Good Night'.


Technology makes promises to connect us and service human communication in a way never before possible. In theory and for example, having a long-distance relationship should now be as fulfilling as one that's face-to-face.

But what happens when the tech dries up and becomes an obstacle, and resentment toward our devices as conduits for our relationships kicks in?

Utilizing the untethered freedom of a conversational user interface (CUI), speech-to-text and the internet, these ‘coupled’ objects take the spoken last thoughts and wishes of one's ‘Good night’, giving form to and delivering them, on waking, to the other.

Individually, these physical receipts, artifacts or tokens may seem trivial as they are collected, used as bookmarks, lost, pinned to the fridge, thrown away or stored in the wallet. However, as they accumulate, they begin to represent something larger. They are a distillation of the sentiment of humans trying to communicate effectively over distance. They are also a stand against the ethereal digitization of our experiences and relationships, the automation of intimacy and our losing grip – so to speak – on things to touch and hold.



Touched by time

Oryan Inbar

What if I can make “clock time” an organic sense of my body, what if it eventually becomes an intuitive feeling of time adding a new sense to my perception of reality. i created a wearable device that would “feed” time data continuously through the skin (tactioception) until it becomes a part of me. Then I may try and alter the fed data and perhaps manipulate time…


I want to know what time it is without a conscious intervention. I don’t like to wear a watch. I want it to be a 6th sense. The first stage of this goal is to embed a sense of time in my body. To do this, I created a wearable device that translates clock time into a haptic pattern language mapped to the hour of the day, using my skin as the interface. The haptic stimulus is created through tiny vibratory motors molded in silicone situated along the 24 pre-sacral vertebrae along my back. This is not meant as a consumer product, but a behavioral experiment or speculative design. A kind of Pavlovian training. Later, if time become an innate sensation, I may try to mess with my mind by changing the data and the intervals, making a minute longer or shorter (or dynamically varying!).




Pat Shiu

How can the deliberate medium of code be used as a tool for intuitive exploration?


“Both + Neither” is a series of computational paintings exploring code as a medium for intuitive exploration.

The images were created using custom generative systems inspired by stochastic painting techniques, where predefined rules govern the image-making process, allowing repetition and probability to shape the outcome of the final work. As a result, the works themselves move away from the artist's control and assume the role of co-creator, and the process of itself becomes a collaborative exploration by artist and computer.

I created over 400 paintings before arriving at the final 6 selected for full-resolution display as 4 by 4 feet prints on aluminum. Through ritualistic iteration from user and system, an outcome that is both organic and hyper-procedural is gradually discovered and extracted from a sea possibilities, arising in shape and form through which intuitive convictions can be examined.


The World-Pixel by Pixel, Thesis

My Heart on My Dress

Jingwen Zhu

My Heart on My Dress is a bespoke connected garment that visualizes my daily experiences and emotions through dynamic changing colors and patterns. Real-time text analysis of my digital diary influences the design of the dress.


Garments are diaries – different dresses say different things, some garments connect us to specific memories, we personalize our clothing the same way we personalize the pages of our journals.

My Heart on My Dress is a novel expression of these themes. It explores personal expression and a narrative version of quantified self through a combination of traditional textiles with innovative technologies.

The custom-made dress is screen printed with thermochromatic ink and wired with soft circuits and thermal patches. Its patterns and colors transform based on data analyzed from a personal diary app.


Rest of You, Thesis