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2013/2014 Industrial Design Engineering IO Electives
Embodied Audio Design
Responsible Instructor
Name E-mail
Dr. R. van Egmond    R.vanEgmond@tudelft.nl
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Different, to be announced
Course Language
Course Contents
Have you ever wondered...
...why we experience the sound of an electric window in an expensive car as more sophisticated than that of a cheap car?
...how tolerances in the manufacturing process initiate the rattling sound of a food chopper?
...how you can influence the sound by changing constructive parts?
...how you design for the sounds of domestic appliances?
...and what sound tells you about the quality of a product’s construction?

Sound is an important aspect in the experience of a product. It also (unconsciously) informs a user if a product is functioning properly. Sound quality can be used to infer product quality. Still, companies often do not consider or envision sound in their design process. Consequently, appliances produce unlikeable sounds and users will complain and sometimes return their products. Therefore, it is important for industrial designers to obtain knowledge how to capture and describe the experiential properties of sound and translate that into a (concept) sound.

In the Embodied Audio Design course you will learn fundamental theories on auditory perception (i.e., psycho-acoustics), and how to apply this knowledge to recording & playback techniques, sound measurements, and sound synthesis approaches. Recording disassembled existing products will inform how individual parts and working mechanisms will contribute to the complete sound. You will learn how to describe and analyze product sound properties. You will learn to express a sound vision and to conceptually analyze it, which will help you to create and evaluate your sound design.

In this quarter we deal with the redesign of a consequential sound. These sounds are the result of their working mechanisms and construction. Therefore, a redesign of these sounds requires an understanding of the contribution of each product part to the total sound, and typically involves suggestions for new parts, materials, or working mechanisms. Former cases include electric toothbrushes, food processors, and prototypes of Philips shavers and the sound of coffeemakers. In this year course we will work to change the sound of coffee grinders together with Philips.
Study Goals
• To learn the relation between product quality and sound quality.
• To learn how sound is produced in products.
• To learn to disassemble a product and to record the sound producing parts.
• To learn the effect of manufacturing process properties on the appliance’s sound production.
• To learn basic principles of sound recording & sound measurement
• To learn basic principles of sound analysis, using tools such as Praat
• To learn basics sound synthesis techniques, using tools such as vocal sketching, Praat, and Sound Studio.
To learn how to present your sound design ideas.
Education Method
The project will be carried out in groups of two or three students for practical reasons (e.g., recording, disassembly, brainstorming). To support the projects, there will be frontal lectures on sound perception, analysis, synthesis, and construction. Sound recording takes place in the Audiolab (which also facilitates analyzing sounds and conducting perceptual tests. Each project ends with a plenary presentation.
Literature and Study Materials
• Van Egmond, R. (2008). The Experience of Product Sounds. In H.N.J. Schifferstein & P. Hekkert (eds.) Product Experience, Elsevier, New York.
• PRAAT. Program for sound analysis
• MaxMSP. Visual programming language.
• Audacity. Sound synthesis program
Group assessment on written report and sound design exercises.
Enrolment / Application
Maximum number of students: 40
Special Information
Dr. René van Egmond
E-mail: r.vanegmond@tudelft.nl
Phone: +31 (0)15 27 88324
Room: C-2-290