Blog by the Media Technologies research group (GTM). Researching interactions between humans, machines and their environments.

07 July 2021 | Posted by Editorial Team GTM

GTM participates in the Science Festival during the 2021 City and Science Biennial of Barcelona

The City and Science Biennial of Barcelona took place from 8th to 13th of June, an edition that has also included the Science Festival. One more time, several GTM researchers participated in the Science Festival organizing a couple of scientific divulgation activities that took place at the Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (PRBB).

First, Dr. Rosa Alsina, Dr. Marc Freixes and Dr. Xavier Sevillano organized a workshop called “Are we all synesthetic?”, that explored the frontier between technology and the interaction among human senses.

In this context, the researchers presented Musical Vision and Sound Neurons. The former is a software tool developed by Dr. Xavier Sevillano and student Antonio Polo, capable of converting images into music by mimicking several aspects of the human visual system. The latter was developed by Dr. Victor Saenger and Marc Freixes inspired in neurons and in the synesthesia between musical notes and colors. Sound Neurons can draw neuron forests according to an audio input in real time. The size and the growth rate of the neurons is controlled by the sound intensity and their color depends on the pitch. 

Children attending the activity were invited to “Paint and make music!”. They were given crayons and drawing paper to create their own paintings. After that, each painting was converted into music by means of Musical Vision. Children also had opportunity to “paint” neuron forests by singing, talking or screaming. 

The second activity in which GTM researchers participated was “SmartLivestock”, presented by Pol Llonch (UAB), Dr. Leticia Duboc (La Salle) and Dr. Marc Freixes (La Salle). The workshop presented early results of two projects: ClearFarm, funded by the European Commission and CowTalk, funded by Agaur.

In the context of ClearFarm, Dr. Llonch connected the audience to a farm, where we could see the animals live and even look at their individual history.  For CowTalk, Dr. Duboc and Dr. Freixes all the sounds we have been listening to: vocalizations, digestion, breathing, heart and farm sounds. They also played several recordings, teaching children to recognize and interpret the samples by listening to the sounds and by reading their spectrograms. Then the researchers challenged the children to identify a series of sounds and tell them whether the animals were relaxed or stressed out. They got it right every time! Well done, kids!!! 

 

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