“The sound of touch” by Merrill and Raffle

  • ©David Merrill and Hayes Raffle

  • ©David Merrill and Hayes Raffle




    The sound of touch



    All people have experienced hearing sounds produced when they touch and manipulate different materials. We know what it will sound like to bang our fist against a wooden door, or to crumple a piece of newspaper. We can imagine what a coffee mug will sound like if it is dropped onto a concrete floor. But our wealth of experience handling physical materials does not typically produce much intuition for operating a new electronic instrument, given the inherently arbitrary mapping from gesture to sound.


    1. Aimi, R. Hybrid Percussion: Extending Physical Instruments Using Sampled Acoustics. Ph.D. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006.
    2. Oppenheim, A. V. and Schafer, R. W. Digital Signal Processing. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1975.
    3. Ryokai, K., Marti, S., Ishii, H. Designing the World as Your Palette. In Proceedings of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’05), Portland, OR, 2005.

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