GPS audio tour brought to you by surface speakers

The team at Eschelle Inconnue wanted to “trace a sound cartography of Islam” in Marseilles, France, so they came up with a clever little GPS walking tour powered by an Arduino, MP3 playback module, and a surface transducer speaker.

The team used a Processing app to define geographic areas where each MP3 file would play. An Arduino on the build queries a GPS module and selects the audio file from an MP3 playback module. This isn’t uncommon, and a lot of large outdoor museums (think battlefields) have similar setups.

Determining which audio to play at what location is fairly easy, but that’s not what makes this build special. Instead of simply hooking up a pair of headphones to the build, the team decided to use a surface speaker that turns just about any solid material into a speaker. From the writeup, this is supposed to, “diffuse sounds by giving the illusion to collect them, to listen to the words of the walls, the whisperings through the materials” but we think it’s just a great way to have several people listen to the same audio file at the same time.

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