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Java auditory display

                                                      October 30, 1996

Ref: first Java sonification applet / auditory display

Dear colleagues,

In the area of auditory displays and spatial sound, the World Wide
Web in principle provides great opportunities for experiments and
demonstrations. However, a real bottleneck to interactive applications
in auditory research is presently the very limited audio functionality
of Java (SDK 1.0.2): 8000 Hz sampling rate, 8 bits per sample, mono,
ULAW .au files. Nevertheless, given these restrictions (well, actually
hacking my way slightly beyond), I have created an interactive auditory
display with Java-generated on-line sound synthesis at


for which you will need either Netscape 3.0 or MSIE 3.0.

You can draw an image and immediately hear the sonification. It is also
possible to provide the URL of an image and get that image sonified,
thus encompassing to some extent textured image sonification, data
sonification and even rudimentary speech (spectrogram sonification).
Again, sound quality is poor due to the 8 kHz 8-bit sample rate, and
stereo (and hence spatial sound support) cannot be implemented at all.
So I will be the first to admit that this synesthetic applet leaves
a lot to be desired, but it is a start. In fact, as far as I know,
this is the very first Java auditory display published on the web!

Any comments, notes about platform-dependent glitches that still need
to be resolved, opinions and suggestions for improvement, either within
the present technical limits or beyond, are most welcome. BTW, anyone
knowing when and how Sun are going to improve Java sound? So far they
didn't respond to my queries, and the SDK 1.1 preview presently says
nothing about audio improvement.

Your feedback will be much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Peter Meijer