Quiver Speaker System

(2010) The Quiver is a compact wearable audio system that explores how location dependent sound and music can alter the perception of space.

It was created as part of an apprenticeship at Mark Bolas' Mixed Reality Lab (MxR) at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Building off of previous work by the lab on simulating hearing loss in virtual training environments, this research project explored aspects of psychophysics, signal processing and location aware media. Development was informed by research on acoustics and physical computing.

Using a high quality Alum/Mg 3 inch diameter full range driver in a custom enclosure, the system provides portability and rich, omnidirectional sound. Inside the enclosure is a "Class-D" electronic amplifier and an Arduino microcontroller.

Additional GPS and audio playback printed circuit expansion boards (shields) were integrated with the Arduino. Custom Arduino programming was done to allow the speaker to determine its location and respond by playing the appropriate sound file from Secure Digital storage. This work opens up further possibilities for exploring locative audio.

Quiver has an integrated carrying strap, and relates to the olden days of boom-boxes and the social practices and implications of altering sound in a public environment.

It is impossible to truly convey the audio quality here and describing how loudspeakers sound is often filled with poetic but meaningless descriptors. Some listeners say that it sounds "immersive" and that the low frequency reproduction is unexpectedly rich for its size. Their is also an "umbrella" effect in that the sound seems to rise up and cover a 360 degree area. The speaker enclosure underwent many iterations to achieve this sound quality.

Speaker Technical Specifications:
Qtc: 0.69 Fc: 139 Hz F3: 142 Hz

Skills and Technologies Employed:

Amplifier design, Signal Processing, Microcontroller Programming, Acoustics and Transducer Integration, Industrial design and aesthetics, Basic hand and power tools