Informant during collaborative experimental game setup.
Informant during collaborative experimental game setup.

About the research project

The research project ”SKAT – Sketching Audio Technologies using Vocalizations and Gestures” aims at developing a digital sketching tool for sound design. This tool should interpret human voices and gestures describing the characteristics of an intended sound, and make sound alternatives available to the user, for him or her to adjust further in an iterative way. In the project, a number of experiments have been carried out within several research fields, including articulatory phonetics, voice analyis, gestural analysis and interactive design. The results have relevance for language education, and the last experiment is carried out in collaboration with Språkstudion to improve also tools for language learning.

The procect runs for 3 years and is funded by the EC. It is a collaboration between Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, Stockholm; Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique, Paris; Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia, Venice (coordinator); and the company GENESIS S.A., Aix-en-Provence.


Language learning and sound design

The case studies of sound imitations are the main source of inspiration for the final experiment on language and sound design. The experiment builds on playing a collaborative game, where the participant is describing speech sounds and other sounds to different co-players. By systematically changing the linguistic repertoire of the co-players, the conditions for the descriptions also change, which makes it possible to investigate different kinds of iconic and imitative competences. Insights into how to elicit these competences are important for efficient and embodied language learning. The results are also of interest within the general linguistic typology field of sound descriptive terminology.


The project group

All full list of the researchers working on this project can be found at SKAT-VG web page. This final experiment is carried out by Sren Ternström, professor of music acoustics at the KTH, Pétur Helgason and Christine Ericsdotter Nordgren, both Ph.D. in phonetics. Henrik Nordgren, chief information officer at Språkstudion, is responsible for the sound recordings and for programming the experimental technology.

Researchers from the different collaborative partners of  "SKAT-VG" at the project kick-off meeting in Venice, 2014.
Researchers from the different collaborative partners of "SKAT-VG" at the project kick-off meeting in Venice, 2014.