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Translating occurences that are beyond our senses? Sugestions please.

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steve_j83

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I stuck this here because i didnt feel it fits well in the other subforums but i figured many of you are well equipped to give me some sugestions here.

Im working on a few art projects that use, occurences that are beyond our senses to compose and design sounds in real time.

The one im planning at the moment is using background radiation (alpha beta and gamma) as the generative data source. My skills in electronics aint so crash hot so its simple enough.

I have also previously worked with the electrical properties of plants and rocks.

Now here is the reason for my post :D I am looking for some thoughts and inspiration to further the idea, what are some other kinds of occurrences (that we cant feel, see, hear, smell, ect) ideally things that could be contverted too (or are) simple voltages.

Any contributions are much appreciated
 

Sceadwian

Banned
You don't find too many sources of alpha and beta radiation naturally that would be useful that I can think of, and gamma will pass through just about anything in the first place and is so low naturally again to not be of much use. UV and IR radiation might be more useful or practical to work with detectors, or acoustic sources that are outside the range of human hearing. The range of human 'feeling' is so narrow but sensitive it's difficult to utilize it. Digital smelling sensors are actually already better than the human nose and might be interesting to work with but you have to have an idea in the first place. We experience so little of our surroundings that we can barely qualitatively say we know anything about where we are in the first place.
 

steve_j83

New Member
You don't find too many sources of alpha and beta radiation naturally that would be useful that I can think of, and gamma will pass through just about anything in the first place and is so low naturally again to not be of much use.

Hmm I was plaining on using a Geiger Müller tube set up that picks up all 3, am not too fussed as to which ones provide the source but i thought that a substanisal amount occurs in our natural environment? Obiously not enough to impact our health, but none the less there, please correct me if im wrong.

UV and IR radiation might be more useful or practical to work with detectors, or acoustic sources that are outside the range of human hearing.

Yeah i have also thinking about working with ultrasound, not sure about uv though, as (as far as i know) its such a gradual change over the period of a day it might be difficult the do something interesting.

Digital smelling sensors are actually already better than the human nose and might be interesting to work with but you have to have an idea in the first place.

Do you mean gas detectors and such?

We experience so little of our surroundings that we can barely qualitatively say we know anything about where we are in the first place.

Well said, a part of the idea behind this is to draw attention to various events occuring in our direct vicinity but would other wise be oblivious too, simply using sound as a medium for communicating these events.

Thanks for the response, and feel free to throw any other ideas at me :)
 

Sceadwian

Banned
The thing about using a radiation detector is that, what is it really allowing you to sense? At best all it would do is 'highlight' others normal appearing objects in a manner which isn't really that important to humans in everyday circumstances. It would be kind of like a human being able to sense two different shades of blue as well as red and green. Sure you could tell the difference between those two shades significantly better. but it provides no really beneficial sensory information, unless you work at a nuclear power plant or do radon gas inspections, and they already have plenty of devices which do that.

Ultrasonics would provide the most practical implementation I think. Maybe subsonics.. Using FFT algorithms you can stretch or compress ordinarily unnoticeable frequency bands into something the human ear can pick up, constructing one of these devices would be I think the most practical and useful thing you could do. They need a decent amount of processing power, but nothing a DSP or a PC couldn't do.

Cross correlating sensory information is another possible avenue you might want to investigate. Probably the most fascinating 'disorder' I've ever heard about, a very very small portion of the population has something called synesthesia. The primary symptom of this disorder is a person seeing letters or numbers in colour, and the same numbers/letters are always the same colour. This cross sensory overflow overrides the visual cortex's normal input from the eyes.

I've seen also a recent bionics project which takes a digital camera, feeds it through a DSP and outputs to a grid of sensors attached to a mouth piece (against the tongue) providing a slight electrical impulse processed from the camera, allowing blind people to taste their surroundings. Well enough at least to avoid large physical obstacles.

There are commercially available multi gas sensors, but they're very expensive. I think they have an Ismell on the market still that can create via software on the PC side several thousand different odors, from a stock of only a few base chemicals, sort of like a printer cartridge. Obviously applications for that kind of thing are very limited =)
 
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