These questions led to the development of HORIZON - an ambient weather display

Team: Adrian Heymann, Heinrich Zaunschirm, Lukas Moro
Project: Sound Design at Umeå Institute of Design (4 Weeks)
Contribution: Conceptualization, Form, Prototyping, Sound Design   

HORIZON enables the user to experience weather audio-visually. It creates awareness of your surrounding nature by bringing procedural soundscapes and abstract visualisations influenced by real-time data into your home. It offers a meaningful experience that allows more than weather forecasting. Imagine reading a book and enhancing your flow state with the help of ambient background sounds. It can motivate you to take up outdoor physical activities on good weather days by bringing the weather closer to you.


Navigating the HORIZON

In the passive mode, the device stays in the background providing its atmosphere with ambient sounds while appearing like a dynamic painting. The base element shows humidity & temperature through the ratio and saturation of cold & warm colours.

On approach, it switches to active mode with the sun being the control element.

The timeline can be navigated by swiping the sun and making a selection with a pinch.

An overview of a timespan can be viewed if the sun is pinched and swiped until a point.

An overview of the week can be summoned with a zoom-out gesture.

The ratio between night and day keeps on shifting with time.


Wizard of OZ

We used the Wizard of Oz methodology of experiential prototyping to evaluate our sounds and interactions through a low-fi prototype. This gave us more profound insights into enriching the interactions and making them intuitive.

Sound Design

We broke down the natural weather sound into two main categories - plain weather sounds and wildlife sounds. We mapped these on a circular graph depending on their intensity throughout the year. This circular logic helped us to define how it sounds during a particular weather scenario. In order to create a sound sphere that people can read by recognizing familiar sounds of local flora and fauna, the sound generation logic also accounts for geographic location, season and time of the day.


Light Snow sound was pretty straightforward to compose with the derived logic as it inherently seems to have a calming nature and a positive vibe. All elements are almost harmonious.

Blizzards, on the other hand, may sound depressive, leading to negative emotions. Therefore we layered synthetic sounds like those of a bonfire and glitter (snow flare), which made the blizzard sound more positive.


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