NYCDH Week: Sensing Urban Noise

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2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 For NYCDH Week, I attended Tae Hong Park’s Sensing Urban Noise presentation on his CityGram project in collaboration with IBM. The project was primarily focused on urban soundscapes and the importance of place. For Tae Hong Park, the importance of a space has to do with the fact that there are memories and emotional attachments to them. The burning question was, how do we capture the life of these places through sound? With the help of Intel, the project has taken off by collecting data attributes from a few places, most notably outside NYU. The sound is captured through small minicomputers and attached microphones. His one-off phrase for the project was “The Dynamic mapping of “Non-Ocular Environmental Energies.””

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4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The main goal of the project is for users to get involved, set up the API on a minicomputer of their own, and start capturing sound. He wants to build something similar to the purpleair project ( and have a map of soundscapes in the city.

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6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 A huge red flag that came up for me was the question of privacy. If you’re capturing sound in a public area (which can be linked to a form of P.I.), what are the privacy concerns for the project and how do you mitigate/deal with them? Mr. Park explained that all the computations of this sound data are handled by each individual minicomputer. The data that is sent back is non-alterable and can’t be used to recreate the sound that was actually occurring in the place of capture. The IBM representative also chimed in (which I was hoping for because of their recent massive involvement in big data collection practices) and he explained that IBM’s main collection project (BlueHorizon) is segmented, where workloads can’t talk to each other unless you want them to be able to, therefore rendering the data as encrypted as possible.
After the initial presentation, they demonstrated one of their products called Supercollider which dealt with manipulating sound through various scripts. Unfortunately, Eddy and I couldn’t use because it was only developed for Mac OS so far.

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