Audio recording & playback harnessed for mobile art project

AUTHOR: Inavate

An art project recently highlighted by the UK's Royal College of Art has deployed a small speaker and a recording and playback device within a helium filled balloon. The hovering, and strangely sinister, black sphere constantly records and replays ambient sounds in an effort to explore and manipulate transitional public spaces according to creator Francesco Tacchini.

The project, staged in collaboration Julinka Ebhardt and Will Yates-Johnson from Design Products, uses a battery power Adafruit Wave Shield for Arduino unit that was hacked to record and playback audio.

This was inserted, along with a small speaker, into a latex balloon. The electronics were vacuum formed in plastic in the shape of a cone to enhance the sound and protect the balloon from wires and PCB edges.

The balloon was filled with enough helium to be able to lift everything and hover, reaching its buoyancy point. The final and lightest prototype weighs 120g.