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Urban Audio System is an experimental device that explores new ways of listening to portable music-players using headphones in public space. Using sensors and microphones mounted on the headphones, the system applies modulation to the audio of your mp3-player and thereby produces a listening experience that responds to – and incorporates your immediate surroundings.

As portable music devices as gained increasing popularity through the years it seems ever more obvious that headphones incorporates a privatized mode of perception that disconnects the listeners from the place and situation they are situated in. By shutting out the urban soundscape, attention is shifted away from the auditive textures produces by activities of others into an attention on a soundtrack that is unrelated to the listeners surroundings. Furthermore, the auditive isolation achieved by wearing headphones makes us unable to use our hearing as a guide to sensing the physical properties of space as we usually do when moving around.

The Urban Audio System addresses these issues of shutting out the environment by letting the environment influence on the music we hear. The sensors act as an interface for the system to generate an instant response from the environment. Microphones serve the purpose of letting in sounds from outside the headphones, but mixed in with the music so that they merge together.

By using UAS, the listener becomes aware of the surroundings and gets reconnected to the urban environment.


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