SYSTEM Sounds is a science-art outreach project that converts the rhythm and harmony of the cosmos into music and sound. We wish to expand on the early success of our OAD-funded 2018 project by focusing on interactive web applications (“apps”) that let anyone create their own space music. Our TRAPPIST-1 app was played by over 1000 youths as part of a small touchscreen exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre’s TechArt Fair and at Science Rendezvous, Canada’s largest science festival. Our 2nd app, which let people strum Saturn’s rings like a harp, was featured as the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), garnering hundreds of thousands of plays. Finally, our 3rd app was featured by space.com.
This has demonstrated the potential for our interactive astronomy sonifications to turn passive viewers into explorers and creators. We seek funding to produce three more web apps and display them on large professional touchscreens at high-traffic venues such as the Ontario Science Centre and the Aga Khan Museum. They will also be used to complement planetarium shows for the visually impaired at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
One possible app will let people play the differently sized craters on the moon, or the different colors of stars, as musical notes. The codes will be open source and users will be able to save audio files of their creations and share them through social media. All apps will be fully functional through screen readers and controllable by keyboard commands.