Driving through soundspace

Today, people are storing larger and larger quantities of digital pictures, videos and sounds and it gets increasingly difficult to browse these vast amounts of information.

I Am Driving Through Sound Space, by MIT researcher Carlos Rocha, is a driving simulation-style installation that immerses the user in a landscape of sound. A computer, equipped with a steering wheel, becomes the vehicle of navigation, demonstrating a different way to browse digital information.


IADTSS takes advantage of the Cocktail Party Effect, the ability to distinguish a single sound source from many others. IADTSS spatially maps individual sounds from a large collection into a virtual world, assigning unique spatial coordinates to each sound.

A user moving through the space will hear each sound source coming from their proper location, in a process called Sound Spatialization. The intensity of each sound diminishes with its distance from the user, and it is heard in stereo according to its position relative to the user. By implementing the Doppler Effect additional spatial clues are provided: as a user moves towards a source, the pitch of the sound increases and vice versa.

The driving wheel and foot pedals gives the feeling of driving through the database at variable speeds without loosing precision.