Version 1.0

Date: April 2015 (Version 1.0)

Concept / Development: David Somiah Clark

hEAR is an experimental headset that integrates binaural microphones and stereo headphones into a pair of sound isolating ear muffs. As a platform for acoustic sensorial intervention, hEAR provides the means to manipulate how an environment is heard. As such, the headset can be used to formulate and test research questions involving how hearing impacts one’s relationship to an environment.

This first iteration of hEAR was developed during an undergraduate degree in Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. The software application Max by Cycling ’74 was used to experiment with signal processing techniques including audio delay, pitch shift, and spatialization. The results were profound with respect to the ability to maniuplate, control, and shift an individual’s perception of their environment.

hEAR was installed as part of a residency in Concordia’s Black Box, P.A.R.E., which was hosted by the Topological Media Lab. A control surface was developed using Mira, an iOS controller for Max MSP, providing other researchers with the ability to experiment with the potential of the headset.

– 3M Peltor Earmuffs (NRR 31 dB)
– Headphone Inserts
(Frequency Resp. 21 – 18’000 Hz, SPL 108dB, THD <0.7%, NI 24 Ω)
– Binaural Microphones
(Freq. Response 20 – 20’000 Hz, SN 58dB, 1khz@1pa, Sensitivity 42dB, DR 90dB, ISL 105db)
– Custom designed and built bias power supply and filter (3.8v / 9v)
– Custom built carbon fiber wire harness (3.5mm jacks – binaural microphones / stereo headset)
– MOTU 896HD / Apogee Duet 1

Additional Hardware Tested
– Jaycon Systems RN-52 (Bluetooth Audio Module)
– x-OSC

– Max MSP
– Apogee Maestro 2

IMG_9125 IMG_9455  hEAR_IMG_2035

IMG_9456 hEAR_IMG_2033  hEAR_IMG_2026