Embedded Theatre

Another fascinating project from CuteCircuit is the Embedded Theatre - a set of devices that enable the wearer to experience an audioscape as they wander through an area. Basically the system detects where you are in a predefined space and provides you with suitable stereo sounds to match. For example, if you walk past a couple of statues on your right, you can hear the sound of them talking to each other on your right hand side. If you turn to face them, the sound stage also changes so that the voices seem to come from in front of you. If you walk towards them, the volume will increase. This facilitates location based narrative that could augment the experience of walking around a historic building or interactive display or even some cleverly designed theatre set.

Embedded TheatreThe Embedded Theatre system comprises a headset and a belt. The headset contains earphones plus sensors that can detect the wearer's orientation. The belt contains WiFi wireless network equipment that can determine the wearer's location through WiFi triangulation and receive suitable audio files perhaps via a cell phone. The two devices talk to each other via Bluetooth. Together, the equipment provides a fictional 3D audio landscape that exactly matches real world objects and locations. As an alternative to the mobile phone, the sound source could be a PDA containing the appropriate sound files and sound source positional co-ordinates.

CuteCircuit claim the system can be used to achieve "the the suspension of disbelief” by immersing the user in an audio world that enables story telling to reach new levels of realism. It is the result of an intensive research and design project addressing how interactive narrative can be successfully realized through mobile technology. While you could imagine that suitably located speakers would create a similar experience, the Embedded Theatre enables the audio to be experienced in the user's chosen language and in a suitable temporal order to allow the story to logically unfold.

The status of the project is that the system has been tested with users and is planned for production and use in major public events in the coming months.

Applications include:
  • The exploration of historic locations throughout the world
  • Dramatic visits to pieces of architecture
  • The exploration of fictional entertainment set in unusual places
CuteCircuit say that the Embedded Theatre system, including innovations connected with its interface, device design and software is currently patent pending.

For more information see: http://www.cutecircuit.com/