Designing Motor Vehicles for the Future
When marketing communications titan JWT and augmented retail specialist Holition ask us to help out on a new technologies interactive installation project, we get super excited! Designing for the future is always hugely inspiring, and we can’t wait to find out what’s involved …
As it turns out, energy giant Shell are looking to foster awareness and dialogue about concepts for new sustainable vehicle designs and technologies. So international engineering and design teams are brought on board, to collaborate and explore new ideas. To raise public awareness and engagement with new ideas about sustainable technology in transportation, it is proposed as an extension of the “Make the Future Live” festival to create interactive installations at Waterloo Station and Stratford Westfield Shopping Centre. Members of the public will step into an immersive environment, and using interactive technology, they will be able to physically explore and manipulate each vehicle design.
After initial discussions, we understand that to really draw audience engagement on this we’ll need to have a sense of anticipation, curiosity and drive underpinning our sonic creative. Sustainable design is all about creating a better future planet for everyone, and to align with that narrative we must imbue a sense of optimism in the sound world we build for this experience. In addition, the experience should feel modern, sophisticated and very sleek, in keeping with the innovative designs and technology under the spotlight.
Designing for interactive environments is a more complex process than timeline sound design & music to picture. We love doing it, because it’s an opportunity to build sound worlds similar to real world experience of physical and surrounding environments. However, designing for interactive has many different technical requirements ranging far beyond simply imagining the creative work in a 3 dimensional space. We must also take time to abstract how the experience will feel to the end user. Sound and music is always about feeling. In this context, it’s also all about technical playback.
In addition to the raw creative sound and music, we also sketch up a listener diagram, design and create a sonic toolkit of creative assets which encompasses multiple takes of each audio segment, including (but not limited to) working parts for how we will hear the sounds in the interactive build – such as minimum to maximum distance, minimum to maximum volume, doppler panning left to right and back, cross fading looping, and an implementation path for placing each asset inside the world we’re creating. Ongoing close collaboration between all the different disciplines on the project is important to achieve a seamless final user experience.
This brief shares a strong imperative for capturing audience attention and engagement with many of the film trailer sound projects we’ve been working on recently. There are a lot of similarities to the heightened, augmented sonic experience we deliver when scoring and sound designing cinema advertising, the key difference being that there are many more touch points to cover with an interactive delivery. People don’t just watch, they listen and watch. And here, they also interact …
3D PRINTED CAR
The Singapore based team choose to focus on 3D print technology and space saving ideas for heavily populated, built up areas, to create their car of the future.
AERODYNAMICS FROM NATURE
The Berlin team’s design focuses heavily on aerodynamics inspired by birds in flight, and a lightweight vehicle to reduce fuel consumption.
The London team opt for a compact pod design and to experiment with an unusual energy source, a hydrogen fuel cell.