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Interaction by Ear

Davide Rocchesso, Stefano Delle Monache, Stephen Barrass

• An overview of sonic information design and sonic interaction design in relation to the three HCI waves
• A description of sketching practices in sonic interaction design
• A perspective projection of sound in interaction studies


Speech-based interaction is now part of our everyday experiences, in the home and on the move. More subtle is the presence of designed non-speech sounds in human-machine interactions, and far less evident is their importance to create aural affordances and to support human actions. However, new application areas for interactive sound, beyond the domains of speech and music, have been emerging. These range from tele-operation and way-finding, to peripheral process monitoring and augmented environments. Beyond signalling location, presence, and states, future sounding artifacts are expected to be plastic and reconfigurable, and take into account the inherently egocentric nature of sonic interaction and representation. This contribution presents a subjective outlook on body-centered sound as a mediator of interactions in future mixed realities, populated by humans, artifacts and virtual representations. Scholars and practitioners are expected to address design issues, to develop evaluation methods, and to expand interaction design practices to be truly multisensory.