The outcome of this project is to sonify environmental data through a series of small solar powered audio-visual devices. Each device will be roughly the shape and size of a brick, hence their name – Brickets.
The devices collectively create an ecology of cricket-like sounds in a outdoor setting. Each Bricket contains an electronic circuit that produces digitally generated chirps that resemble the sounds made by crickets or frogs. Each device also contains a series of LED lights that glow every time the device produces a chirp.
The devices are also capable of listening to their environment, communicating among themselves and receiving information every time another device chirps. The regularity of the chirping depends on the time of day (they become active at dusk) and the responses of the neighbouring Brickets. Different devices will tend to couple more strongly with their neighbours, producing pockets of synchrony as the population of Brickets moves between chaos and a common period of calling.
When a Bricket generates a sound, a ring of LEDs light up in sequence on the device’s face, visualising the duration of the playback of the chirp. While active, the Brickets have an interactive component as passing pedestrians will be able to influence the rhythm of the chirping by standing over the bricks or waving a limb over them. Brickets charge up their batteries using their in-built solar panel during the daylight hours, and then expend the energy as sound and light during the night.
One presentation opportunity for the Brickets would be to connect them to the daily water consumption of a building or area. Recent improvements in water and power data collection and measurement could enable this. Just as frogs call after prolonged rain, so too would the Brickets sing if the building’s water use fell below a daily threshold. The devices would begin to call after dusk, and would serve as positive reinforcement to encourage thrifty water usage.