When it comes to augmented reality apps, visually immersive experiences are plentiful, but audio experiences are somewhat underrepresented. A new app for iPhones and iPads seeks to shift the AR paradigm toward the latter.
Now available via the App Store, the Fields app creates spatial sound "fields" that are visually marked via colorful 3D "particles" anchored in the user's physical environment. As users walk around particles, sounds assigned to those translucent objects swell and then fade as users walk away. When particles are placed close together, sounds also bleed together, creating soundscapes that morph as users navigate their real world space.
The particles can be configured to appear as spheres, sparks, or rings, and the particle colors are random by default, but users can choose their own specific color options. The background, which is the camera view by default, can also be adjusted to the same colors, with black substituted for white.
On the audio side, the app includes five sample sounds to allow users to start building their own fields. Users can also record their own sounds via their device's microphone, or import files through iTunes file sharing.
Developed by Planeta, a New York-based AR and VR studio specializing in sonic experiences, Fields comes with six pre-made fields for users to explore and familiarize themselves with the concept.
I could see this app being used to add sonic elements to self-guided tours at museums or educational exhibits. Or maybe a music artist could create an immersive listening party, with tracks visually dispersed throughout the venue.
Fields is a prime example of how audio experiences can be facilitated within a mostly visual technology. So if you've been craving a more creative approach to a spatial audio AR experience, this app is definitely worth a spin.