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Topophonies are virtual navigable sound spaces, composed of sounding or audio-graphic objects. Graphic and sounding shapes or objects are audio-graphic when visual and audio modalities are synchronized.

In virtual reality and videogames, we know how to make scenes composed of point-shaped elements: graphic and sound (i.e. a spot representing an object). However, there is no tool enabling navigation to make scenes consisting of a very great number of interactive visual and sound elements, nor of dispersed elements such as a crowd, a flow of traffic, foliage, or rain.

Project Description & Goals

The research project Topophonie proposed lines of research and innovative developments for sound and visual navigation in spaces composed of multiple and disseminated sound and visual elements. By working in a multidisciplinary scientific group (digital audio, visualization, sound design) with companies specialized in the domain of interactive multimedia activities, the project Topophonie conceived and developed models, interfaces and audio-graphic renderings of groups of granular animated and spatialized objects.

The project team was composed of researchers specialized in granular sound renderings and in advanced interactive graphical renderings, as well as digital designers and enterprises specialized in the relevant fields of application.

The completed works produced interfaces that define and control multimedia scenes and tools for real-time rendering on synchronized audio and visual channels. The first production was an augmented audio reality installation, Topophonie Mobile, during the Futur en Seine festival. This installation augmented a position-determined walk in a public park with an acoustic ambiance on the theme of water via the Navidium application for interactive audio-graphical digital maps. Topophonie Mobile, won the Grand Prix de l’Innovation from the City of Paris in 2013 (mention special design).

The other strong points of the research carried out in this project were the conception of a new method of synthesizing sound textures, and the dissemination of knowledge via two international workshops on audio-graphical modeling organized as a part of the project in 2011.

Project reference: ANR-2009-CORD-022-03.

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