Urbansync’s Weblog

Reality Tagging / Found Sounds / Artscience


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Performed by: Stephan Baumann

Urban Sync aims at finding the correlates which define personal well-being in an urban context. Since we live our lifes meanwhile in a world augmented by technical artifacts, the boundaries seem to blur between being always-on or completely-off. Knowledge workers, artists, Web2.0 aficionados define the quality of life and especially urban life by something in-between work and activities in private life, something in-between the office, the city, the countryside – the „third place“ – is a focal point for them.

Urban Sync is an ongoing project effort to gather urban signals in typical settings of my life as a research-artist. Equipped with a portabel MP3-recorder to record urban sound, a smartband to collect physiological data (heart rate, skin conductance response) as well as locative data (GPS) and a commodity device to scan „electronic smog“ (signals of GHz networks) I document the multimodal input of urban signals encountered over the course of an hour, a day, a week in different cities world-wide. The required devices are non-instrusive and it is possible to document experiences over large intervals of time.

Thanks to the EU COST ACTION SID (Sonic Interaction Design) I was partially funded to conduct first experiments with this approach in October 2008. Hosted at INESC Porto I performed 19 sessions and the data is available in the download section.

In contrast to existing work the analysis, visualization and sonification of these open data streams are undertaken in a post-processing mode and by a collective approach. Collaborating researchers and institutes pick up the data they like to work on and share the results with Urban Sync. In this way I hope to stimulate world-wide joint research to find some interesting correlates or aesthetic mashups of these data for interactive exploration.

In future projects we could imagine to develop a device allowing for realtime interfacing the urban playground on everyday devices with open-source software.

About the performer

Stephan Baumann


German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) / Kaiserslautern / Germany

Join in!

If you wish to support my project or to report something about it I would appreciate if you contact me!

Contact: stephan dot baumann at dfki dot de


This project is partially funded by COST IC0601 Action on Sonic Interaction Design (SID).

This project is supported by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

Special thanks to Prof.Dengel and my colleagues of the Knowledge Management Department at DFKI.


Written by urbansync

May 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm

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