Sound Keeper allows  
you to record, categorize,
and search for sounds
around the world.

I've always been intrigued by the sounds around us and the need to document them. It's a sense where I am able to feel fully immersed in after the occurrence. When I close my eyes and recall the environment, mood, my state of mind during the recording I feel an intense sensation that I am unable to replicate with any other sense. Sounds are able to that transport you back to in time, because of the lack of context (compared to visuals) it opens up your imagination and creates a range of interpretations. 

During my month long visit to India I was able to compile some of the sounds that resonated with me, whether it be echoing of prayers in the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, early morning sweeping in the quiet Bangalorean neighbourhood, or the chaotic traffic jams in the streets of Jaipur in the evening. You can listen to my recordings in the Colours of India album. This project was a catalyst for the Sound Keeper, as I wanted to have a tool that was capable of capturing and categorizing sounds into my own personal library, while simplifying the act of recording.

Sound Keeper is a tool for one to feel connected to a sense and capture it into their memory bank in it's rawest form. Without the excess that is so prominent in today's social media, I wanted to limit the editing capabilities after capturing a sound. No post processing, whether it be filters or trimming.  One click would transport the sound into your library. In it's rawest form one is able to focus solely on this information without any extraneous visuals. An extension of one's personal recordings was to share these snippets of life with the outside world creating a database of sounds.

There are two ways you can interact with the application. With your eyes open or closed. Open allows you to choose posts in which the textual dialog is intriguing to you. With your eyes closed you are able to autoplay the stream of music free from association and context.

Record: A simplistic way to record and visualize sound in real time
Categorize: Categorize and collect sounds into your own personal library
Search: Search and discover sounds through geotags and hashtags

Preliminary thoughts and ideas under the theme of sound. Mind maps are crucial to the early ideation process as it organically creates one idea out of another.

I developed a questionnaire that investigated one’s relationship with sound which revealed common sentiments amongst a range of participants. These answers informed and narrowed the focus of the application’s purpose and function.

What does sound mean to you? What types of sounds do you enjoy most, and why? How do you visualize sound? Is there a specific image that comes to your mind? Describe a time when you wanted to capture a sound?

These keywords represent reoccurring themes from participants.

VisualFeedback_Exploration.jpg

An exploration of visualizations activated when recording. Some visualizations included pulses, waves, spirals, abstract lines, each exploring movement and time elapsed.

User Flow of how one experiences the application. The core navigation features are Record, Home and Profile. 

Record

Maria, in her early 70s has early onset of Alzheimer's disease. She’s a retired nurse and has a lot of time on her hands now. She worries that her memory will deteriorate too quickly and wants to keep herself in check and do as much as she can delay this.

She uses the Sound Keeper as a way to record mental notes, important places and people and then categorizes them in her library.

She records her own voice memos for awareness and self reflection. She also records her grandchildren’s voices, the atmosphere of the restaurants she frequents, soothing sounds she hears so she can replay and reference back when she needs or wants to.

These familiar sounds keep her in check and is a great aid. In a way it’s an extension of her fleeting memories.

Search

Samuel’s very excited to be taking his grade 2 class on a bird watching field trip at the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. To prepare for this trip he wanted to familiarize his students with some of the popular bird calls so they will be able to identify them when they heard at the park.

Samuel opens up the Sound Keeper and types in “Sparrow, Cardinal, Woodpecker, Chickadee in the search bar, playing these sounds for his class to listen.

The children mimic the bird calls in unison. Samuel tells his class to keep an ear out for these sounds, so it can lead them closer to observe in detail.

Categorizes

Shanti has just moved halfway across the world from Mumbai to Toronto to study. She is having trouble sleeping because she misses home, where all her family and friends are. 

She opens Sound Keeper and navigates to her past recordings, and selects the theme “City” where her recording has been saved under. She activates the post “10:15 am in Chor Bazaar”.

She closes her eyes and these sounds transport her back home. The cacophony of chatter, radio jingles, passing footsteps, vibrations of the engines and high pitched honks fill her mind.

She remembers the time in her childhood where her mother would bring her along to the chaotic Chor Bazaar, and after a long day of sari shopping she would let her choose one of the treats in the many colourful sweet vendors. She always chose the same thing, Jalebi. A delicious sweet fried dough in a coil shape dipped in sugar syrup. She would always lick her sticky fingers in the end so she could savour every bit of the sweet Jalebi.

She smiles and feels a bit of warmth stir inside, and falls back to sleep.