Monday, 8:54am
12 October 2009

Stephen Hawking’s Universe

Jared Ficklin’s visualisation from Flash on the Beach

Audio visualisation was a hot topic at last month’s Flash on the Beach, writes John Ridpath, but Jared Ficklin’s sonic experiments stood out for their individuality, drama, and casual disregard for health and safety.

In tribute to Stephen Hawking, Ficklin charted a four-hour audio recording of The Cambridge Lectures. The sample’s amplitude pushed a red line along the X-axis, and the Y-position varied according to vocal inflection (see top). At the end of every sentence, Ficklin’s program plots a star: a long sentence gets a small star, a shorter sentence gets a bigger one. After removing the red lines, you are left with... Stephen Hawking’s Universe (see below).


Thanks to some added interactivity, you can click on a star to hear the sentence that generated it. Ficklin’s screencast (below) shows the animation at work.

At FOTB, Ficklin spoke of plans for an ever-expanding Flash universe: ‘I want to put constellations in connecting the sentences, and of course I want multi-touch so you can zoom out and get over to another galaxy that’s The Brief History of Time’.

Another of Ficklin's hobbies is visualising sound with fire. See below for a video of his latest experiment: the ‘Harold Daw flame box’.

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