Project for Disney Research
The Ishin-Den-Shin interactive installation addresses physicality and intimacy in digital audio communication. It consists of a microphone that can record sounds and transmit them through touch. Once recorded, the sound is transformed in an inaudible signal. This signal is transmitted to a person’s body when holding the microphone. The signal can be transmitted by physical contact, from body to body. The recorded sound becomes audible only when touching someones ear. The sound can be heard only by the specific ear which is touched, as if the finger would be whispering the recorded sounds. Secrets, messages and whispers can then be transmitted from person to person in physical contact with each others. Bodies become a broadcasting medium for intimate, physical, sound communication.
A Shure 55 microphone is connected to a computer’s sound card. The microphone is recording as soon as a sounds of amplitude higher than a set threshold is sensed. The computer then create a loop with the recording, that is sent back to an amplification driver. This amplification driver converts the recorded sound signal into a high voltage, low current (<300 Vpp, <50 uA) inaudible signal. The output of the amplification hardware is connected to the conductive metallic casing of the microphone via a very thin, almost invisible wire wrapped around the microphone audio cable. When holding the microphone, the visitor comes in contact with the inaudible, high voltage, low power version of the recorded sound. This creates a modulated electrostatic filed around the visitors’ skin. When touching another person’s ear, this modulated electrostatic field creates a very small vibration of the ear lobe. As a result, both the finger and the ear together form a speaker, that makes the signal audible for the person touched. The inaudible signal can be transmitted from body to body, using any sort of physical contact.