Web Audio in the Dining Room
Proceedings of 3rd Web Audio Conference, London, August 2017;55
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The worlds of the arts, gastronomy, and technology have been colliding and recombining with increasing frequency in recent years, resulting in unusual new forms of expression that engage with all of the senses in a uniquely responsive way. Artists are increasingly seeking to exploit the expressive potential of the chemical senses of smell and taste, while at the same time chefs have been investigating how to refine the narrative, aesthetic, and communicative capabilities of a meal. Web Audio technologies offer a uniquely practicable solution to some of the unexpected challenges that arise when developing multisensory dining experiences, especially when considering the inherently indeterminate nature of a meal. A sophisticated and responsive real-time system is required to respond to diners’ unpredictable choices and actions. Siting the source of the sound as close as possible to the food helps reinforce the links between the perception of taste, smell, and sound. Presenting the soundtrack to a meal via the mobile devices that diners are already bringing with them to the restaurant setting provides an innovative, scalable, and cost-effective solution to these challenges. Moreover, by coordinating the music emanating from each diner’s device, the restaurant space is transformed into an emergent sound environment, driven by the activities of the diners.
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