Advances in data discovery, business analytics, and machine learning are opening up countless new ways to use data. This includes some of today’s biggest business breakthroughs, such as purchasing products through Alexa, new data monetization models, and data-driven customer experiences, as well as data for good initiatives like improving communities and helping to fight climate change.
However, the recent release of the sound of a martian sunrise left even us data lovers at the APEX in awe. We liked it so much that we dug a little deeper into the technology behind it, called data sonification, and decided to dedicate an entire post to the topic for your listening pleasure.
According to Open Shelf, “Data sonification means representing data as non-speech sound, but where visualizations use elements such as lines, shapes, and colours, sonification relies on sound properties such as volume, pitch, and rhythm.”
In case you missed you it, you can listen to the Martian sunrise clip below. In the video, the final image captured by NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity, its 5,000th Martian sunrise, is transformed into music using data sonification software. Co-creators Domenico Vicinanza, director of the Sound and Game Engineering Research Group at Anglia Ruskin University, and Dr. Genevieve Williams, Lecturer in Biomechanics at the University of Exeter, analyzed the image pixel by pixel, assigning certain pitches to data characteristics like color, brightness, and texture to produce the sound.
Not surprisingly, data sonification is expanding. New and creative ways beyond scientific use cases are emerging.
In another example, data visualization artist Brian Foo examined income inequality in New York City. Covered in a Mic article, the New York City-based Foo employed data sonification to generate music that highlights the income inequality that exists along various stops on New York City’s line 2 subway. Foo used U.S. Census data, specifically median household income levels, to create the score. You can listen to it below:
Is business the next frontier for data sonification solutions?
Let us know how you think your company, industry, or community might benefit from data sonification in the comments section below. In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for new and interesting uses cases to share here on the APEX.