»Not Yet Heard« is a project by Bernhard Hopfengärtner and Gunnar Green in collaboration with Prof Mark Plumbley from Queen Mary, University of London. The project is part of the EPSRC’s Impact project and featured in an exhibition at the Royal College of Art between the 16th and 21st March 2010.
»Sound is so much more than just a scientific phenomenon. Fundamentally shaping the way we interact with our world and with each other, it can be a source of both joy and despair, and in many ways helps underpin our very survival. But our relationship with sound – even the way we think about it – could be about to change forever.
Technology has never matched the incredible capabilities of human hearing: the ability to recognise sounds, to pick one out from a jumble of noise, to interpret tone and other acoustic characteristics. Yet the benefits could be far-reaching and life-changing, from better hearing aids to improved security at stations and airports.
This research project is confronting the problem head-on. It aims to enable computers not just to hear sounds but also to analyse them, form judgements and then take appropriate action. And a technique called ‘sparse representations’, based on the fact that we only hear a few things at any one time, could unlock the potential.«