A tangible interface for noise control in workspaces
While open spaces have been praised for enabling group creativity, they tend to negatively impact productivity with distractions and interruptions constantly blocking our concentration. Hover tackles the problem of noise in open spaces by encouraging awareness of noise level in workspaces and enabling self monitoring and control.
It features a transparent tube that contains a ball that levitates inside it. It uses a microphone to detect the general sound level of a room. The louder the room gets, the higher the balls levitates. The people around it need to be quieter for the ball to be lower. If the sound reaches a certain threshold, the ball flies out of the tube.
Moreover It includes a white noise generator. Rather than trying to reduce the noise of a room, Hover increases the overall sound level by injecting white noise into the environment. This may seem counterintuitive, but distracting noises are not loud on an absolute scale, they are loud relative to the average sound level. If that level is increased, undesirable sounds have to be much louder for them to be distracting.
Hence, Hover provides constant physical feedback to people about how loud they are being. At the same time, it compensates for distracting sounds by raising the overall sound level.
I co-developed this concept with a team of six for a class in Enchanted Objects at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. I contributed in the idea generation, the building of the prototype, the producing and editing of the video.