Visualizing the human voice.


Soundbox was a collaborative effort between Joachim Falck-Hansen , Tae-yeol Lim and myself to bring the semantics of human voice into an expressive visual medium. It is a design-by-prototyping experiment we did at Umea Institute of Design in Sweden.


We started by looking at the semantic aspects of sound then tried to find its relation with the visual mediums. Human voice arises from variations in air pressure caused by motion or vibration. Voice can be plotted as a waveform that is periodic and is characterized by its frequency, amplitude and phase. There is always a level transition from zero in human voice similar to growth patterns. The tone (pitch) characterizes the human voice, the way color themes are representation the characteristic of visual mediums.

An open experiment

Soundbox was an open-ending experiment and was kept at a very abstract level. We had an exhibition where people could come and explore the Soundbox. It turned into a tool people would use to express themselves in a different way. Visualizations of voice was something they could never picture in their mind.


Here is one of the experiments where people are exploring how their voice can generate patterns and color themes. It is interesting to see how voice finds a different meaning here; one of applications we actually used was to get patterns and create a poster.


When a tool is designed in an abstract way, it is hard not to consider other experiments with it. We decided to play music into it to see how Soundbox reacts!