Animated typeface by metatype
I

Intention

The interactive Soundglobe is a geodesic sphere to find new possibilities to visualize sound in a three dimensional and interactive way. Thought firstly as a visualisation through a two dimensional RGB-matrix, I asked myself why to build plane matrix, when I’m working with a three dimensional medium like sound. The outcome is a figurative representation of tones, that appear and resonate in three dimensional space.
II

Technical background

The idea relies on a geodesic dome by R. Buckminster Fuller wich consists out of 180 triangles. Every triangle represent one light element, which display the whole human colour range. A micrphone at the upside scans incoming acoustic signals continuously in space, analysis and captures the range of frequency and sound intensity. Is a peak detected the full range of the frequency (low frequencies correspond to blue, mid to green, high to red) is mapped to the suiteable colour range. The intensity influeces the brightness of each light element.
Through the creation of every impulse takes place steadily, arise randomly—sometimes even with associated—patterns, which variation constitute a steady immersive expression.
III

Process

IV

Learn Programming

I’m not a programmer and I actually don’t want to be. But if you have an idea, which you can’t stop think about, there is only one possibility to turn your thoughts into a real world: You must do it—yourself. I spent a lot of time to read about electronics, programming, libraries, Arduino and so on. And yes the most time I search after errors messages, sometimes I was depressed. At the beginning my understanding was very limited, but if you are patient enough, the wall between you and the “programmer world” get slowly thinner.
V

Let’s make a model

The model gave me a first impression how the geodaesic dome works. Many different constructions and shapes of geodaesic domes exist. This one bases on a “icosahedron 3th frequence”, which consists of two different kind of triangles, one to put together to hexagons and the other one to pentagons. I decided to build one with 180 triangles and 47" diameter. In this way, I have enough resolution to create later additional effects like to show scrolling text.
Model | Interactive Soundglobe
Model | Interactive Soundglobe
Model | Interactive Soundglobe
Model | Interactive Soundglobe
Model | Interactive Soundglobe
VI

Build the final Soundglobe

The construction consists of aluminum, which we bend on sheet metal bender. Three sides for every triangle multiply by 180 are 540 sides to bend. Nobody—me included—don’t know if at the end every 180 parts match together. I have neither considered the thickness of metal nor way in which we want to transport the whole globe by car. Every finished triangle passed many work stages. Build a template for all other triangles to cut out. Drilling, deburring, bending and the final combining.
Hard life. We break up at 6.30 am. Object of desire: The sheet metal bender of my uncle.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Which kind of metal should we use?
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
The workshop of my grandfather, what a pleasure.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
When you bend metal, always bend 4° more as required.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
We need almost 3 hours and 4 tries to cut—exactly—the template.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
This tool is so simple but genius. Every human beeing should be have an sheet metal bender. Really.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Unfortunately, we don’t thought about a box column drilling machine.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Surface volume of the dome amounts about 8525in². The construction needed overall 14725in² metal.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
VII

Wire up RGB-LEDs

The soldering of the RGB-LEDs seemed simple, but was a tedious task. I used full digital RGB-LEDs, which are individually contralable by a Arduino Uno microcontroller. Every LED can adjust through 255 steps for brightness of red, green and blue light and operate with 5V. When all LEDs are lighting up to color white, the amount of electricity is almost 10 Ampere. That’s far away from average of 450mA, which typically provides a usb port. That’s why I purchase addiditional power supply.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Servo cable are perfect for wiring.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
One LED-stripe has 120 RGB LEDs, which are truncoated to individual pieces.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Check the functionality of the soldered chain of LED.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
3,5 × 8 hours my workplace.
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
Construction | Interactive Soundglobe
VIII

Mantle the Soundglobe

Mantle | Interactive Soundglobe
Mantle | Interactive Soundglobe
Mantle | Interactive Soundglobe
Mantle | Interactive Soundglobe
Mantle | Interactive Soundglobe
Mantle | Interactive Soundglobe
Mantle | Interactive Soundglobe
XV

Exhibition

Exhibition | Interactive Soundglobe
Exhibition | Interactive Soundglobe
Exhibition | Interactive Soundglobe
VIII

Scope of Applications

The visualisation of sound in three dimensions way create a more haptically and immersive experience to hearing music. Moreover specific visualisations could close down to different kind of music patterns and impressions. According to music, visualisations could be appear more smooth or intensify.
A further mission: Many of current screens are flat as pancakes. The human beeing is known as a creature, who moved in three dimensions space, why don’t view messages as scrolling text also in this whole space? Train stations, airports or festivals aren’t rarely places where peoples take a view over larger areas. A three dimensional screen could give people orientation, wherever they are currently located.
IX

Nice to know

1100

Solder joints

0

Square centimeter unlighted area

120

Meter cable

540

Screws and nuts

47

Inches diameter
XII

Want more?

You have some impulses or questions about the project?
Or you considered to rent the soundglobe for events?
Don’t hesitate to write an E-Mail: info[U+0040]soundglobe.de
XIII

About + Credits

This project is designed, developed and handcrafted by Angelo Stitz in the university course Intermedia Design, mentoring by Prof. Dr. Matthias Wölfel, University of Pforzheim, Faculty for Design.
Many thanks to Matthias for technical supporting and inspiring me. Lovely thanks to my colleague Hannes Holzhauer, who gave me a deep insight into programming and electrical engineering.
My whole family—especially my patience parents.

Angelo Stitz is studying Visual Communication at the University of Pforzheim, Germany. He’s focused on drawing and developing custom typefaces, designing books, logos and word marks. His spectrum of interest embraces corporate and editorial design, illustration, sculpture and of course typography. Alongside the designer’s wide-ranging personal projects, he works as a freelance designer and convincingly manages not to limit his creative dynamic to one single branch.
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