NSF Sonification Report (Greg )

Subject: NSF Sonification Report
From:    Greg  <greg(at)METTA.ORG>
Date:    Fri, 17 Sep 1999 11:42:37 -0300

Announcement of Report on Sonification Sponsored by the National Science Foundation ***Please forgive multiple postings*** In March of this year the International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD) completed and published: "Sonification Report: Status of the Field and Research Agenda" Sonification is defined in this report as: "...the use of nonspeech audio to convey information. More specifically, sonificaiton is the transformation of data relations into perceived relations in an acoustic signal for the purposes of facilitating communication or interpretation." This report was the result of efforts by a group of researchers brought together prior to the ICAD 97 conference at a workshop supported by the National Science Foundation. The executive summary can be found below. The report can be found at: http://www.icad.org/websiteV2.0/References/nsf.html If you would like to receive a printed copy of the report ($5.00 to cover mailing), you can contact: Terri L. Bonebright, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychology DePauw University Greencastle, IN 46135 tbone(at)depauw.edu Phone: 765-658-4575 FAX: 765-658-4572 For further information about ICAD activities, including ICAD 2000 at the Georgia Institute of Technology, April 2-5, visit the ICAD web site: http://www.icad.org Gregory Kramer ICAD ******************* Sonification Report Executive Summary Sonification is the use of nonspeech audio to convey information. The goal of this report is to provide the reader with (1) an understanding of the field of sonification, (2) an appreciation for the potential of sonification to answer a variety of scientific questions, (3) a grasp of the potential for sonification applications to facilitate communication and interpretation of data, and (4) specific ideas for productive support of sonification research. The field is composed of the following three components: (1) psychological research in perception and cognition, (2) development of sonification tools for research and application, and (3) sonification design and application. In reviewing the current status of each of these components, some common themes become apparent. One is a trend toward research in high-level perceptual issues and development of corresponding complex tools. Another is the potential importance of multimodal displays. Finally, an overarching theme is the need for interdisciplinary research and interaction. By nature, the field of sonification is interdisciplinary, integrating concepts from human perception, engineering, design, and the arts. In order to establish a discipline of sonification, three global issues must be addressed. The first is the need for recognition of sonification as a valid area of research. The recognition and funding of sonification by the National Science Foundation (NSF) can play a major role in this validation. The second is communication within the sonification community. We propose support for coordinated workshops and conferences and a peer-reviewed journal of sonification. The final issue is the need to provide a curriculum for teaching sonification. We recommend the following research agenda. Perception and cognition research should focus on dynamic sound perception, auditory scene analysis, multimodal interaction, and the role of memory and attention in extracting information from sound. The development of sonification tools should focus on providing the user with flexible control over data dimensions and sound parameters and facilitating data exchange to and from varied application areas. Applications and design research should focus on the formulation of a method for sonification design. In addition to funding promising flagship applications, task-dependent and user-centered approaches to sonification design should be supported. Timbre perception studies should be furthered and coupled with data-to-sound parameter-mapping research. Other worthy research topics in basic sonification theory and design research include aesthetics, metaphor, affect, and applications of gestalt formation. A coordinated interdisciplinary research effort supported by moderate funding at the national level is necessary if sonification research is to prosper. The resultant advances in both basic research and technology development will contribute to scientific and commercial applications, which will then feed back into the development of the field. National Science Foundation funding and leadership can help to accelerate this process. Gregory Kramer, Ph.D. Metta Foundation 310 NW Brynwood Lane Portland, OR 97229 503-292-8550 Fax: 503-292-4982 greg(at)metta.org

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