Trust your ears.
It seems a simple instruction, in the teaser video for this project by Stockholm-based producer/composer Håkan Libdo. But for those of us used to having vision, focusing in on one sense – even the sense on which we rely for music and sound – can be an extraordinary experience. If digital interface design has done anything, it has forced new ways of looking at design across senses, and not just in a weary repetition of “we always do it this way.”
Playing tennis in InvisiBall becomes a new experience. Sonic cues along direct the ball from side to side. And apart from experiencing the game – blindfolded or even as a non-seeing person – the result can be a performance. Developed with programmers Magnus Frenning and Jonatan Liljedahl, the game relies on three-dimensional sound and senses user play, a new musical game.
A computer, while tracking the players, seamlessly mixes sonic cues with a musical soundtrack, so that the results are melodic and not only sound effects. Played in a darkened room, the rackets emit infrared light. Wiimotes here don’t move, as they do when playing games like Nintendo’s Wii Tennis; instead, they’re just IR sensors.
An audience gets to “see” the position of that invisible ball, so that spectating is a slightly different sensation; a TV displays where the ball would be.
More information on Håkan Libdo’s site; he tells us this could be making appearances at festivals this year. (So… if you’ve got a festival, and you’re reading… uh, send CDM some tix, too, and we’ll visit?)