Voice Blox – getting your hands on language

Industrial Design Student 2016

Douglas Mann
Royal College of Art / Imperial College London
Innovation Design Engineering

Achieving accurate tonal variation and accent is crucial in communicating confidently in Mandarin. However, hearing and understanding your mistakes whilst speaking is a complicated task.

Voice Blox deconstructs and tracks your vocal frequencies. The tactile interface embodies your characteristic vocal frequency as a physical shape, enabling you to see, feel and hear exactly how you sound. The ‘Master’ block leads the lesson by playing the ideal pronunciation as you move your finger along its top surface. Voice analysis software allows the ‘Mirror’ block to listen to you and embody your tone in its surface shape.

You can iteratively self-correct your accent by physically comparing the master and mirror block shapes, feeling and hearing yourself relative to the ideal tone.

This project was conducted as a group effort between Matthew Rice, Yang Gao, Wilhelmina Crolius and Dougie Mann.