Sonos + the xx + Kyle McDonald- 11.17.12
This week we popped by the Sonos Space to see “Missing” created by The xx in collaboration with new media producer Aramique Krauthamer, media artist Kyle McDonald and engineer Matt Mets. The installation is created around the song of the same name from their new album “Coexist” and features 50 robotic Sonos players following the movement of visitors as they pass through… The first thing you notice is the glowing cube in the center of the space filled with Sonos speakers hanging inside, all rotating to face the listeners as they move around. They only let a few people through at a time - and with the opening night crowd, it quickly starts to look like a glowing catwalk as people sashay through.
As for how it works - each speaker is suspended from cables and uses a small circuit board and stepper motor to rotate around. Two Microsoft Kinects are mounted in the upper corners that track peoples movements. A computer uses that data to control the direction of movement for each speaker by creating a vector between the person and the closest speakers. The system constantly sends commands to the motors creating the effect that each speaker is tracking you. Even with 10+ people crowded into the installation the system work remarkably well.
See more of the installation and details on the next page!
Here you can see the circuit board, stepper motor, and wires for sound, power, and signal. Each of these acts like a small local brain for each speaker. While all of the movements are being calculated on the computer, this simple little setup allows each speaker to act independently.
This is the debug screen that shows the computer software running. There is a 3d model of the installation, a map showing the direction of each speaker, as well as the location of anyone in the exhibit space.