Enhanced spacial awareness combined with active noise cancellation

In the interdisciplinary project “Sound in Industrial Design”, four students from the Advanced Product Design and Interaction Design programs at the Umeå Institute of Design started a three-week collaboration to explore the powerful connection between sound, form, and interaction.

Our chosen design opportunity relates to active noise cancellation, a technology that has evolved in recent years into a standard feature for wireless headphones. While noise-canceling adds a great value in numerous use cases, new problems have arisen as a result of its continuous development and optimization: for example in urban areas, where electric cars and eScooters can be easily overheard while listening to music.

In only three weeks, we designed the conceptual product “aware,” a wearable sensor that provides an extra layer of safety for athletes in urban areas.
Using sound signals – placed in a 3D audio space – the sensor warns users about fast-approaching objects, without compromising the music listening experience.

User Interface