How does it work?
The Sonosphere is a life-sized cymatic instrument for resonating the body in a harmonic way, using waves of sound. The Sonosphere uses spacial geometry, musical harmonics and physics principles to give a customized experience of sound that you won't find anywhere else. Most importantly, the Sonosphere is a new technology for aiding in the therapeutic healing process for chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, and more. The Sonosphere offers a revolutionary integration of art, science, and sound - and is designed with four key principals of operation:
• CYMATIC RESONANCE IN THE HUMAN BODY >
• 3D SOUND SPHERE (AMBISONICS) >
• TRANCE INDUCING ENVIRONMENT >
• IMMERSIVE ART THERAPY >
The Power of Music + Sound
The Sonosphere has 2 unique sound systems which we manually blend together in a custom live session. The first system is the CYMATIC SYSTEM (haptic circular sound bed), and the second is the 360 deg AMBISONIC SYSTEM (a spherical surround sound).
Based on each participants mass, a fundamental resonant frequency will be found to create standing waves in the person's body with added intensity at the point of resonance. There is a simple scientific relationship between mass and resonance on the Sonosphere and allows us to create custom layers of sound which are dialed in for each unique individual.
Our ambisonic array of speakers can either be in-sync with the cymatic system, or they can be used to softly overlay music into the sonic landscape. The ambisonic array also has a 3D doppler effect, binaural beats, and custom circular panning, which gives the effect of being in a circular vortex of sound.
Life-SIzed Cymatic Resonance
The Chladni plate is a classic physics demonstration of resonance patterns in a thin metal plate. The Chladni plate is also a prime example of the science of cymatics. The thin metal plate is attached to a vibrating speaker cone and then sprinkled with a large amount of salt. The speaker is played with pure tones of sound and, at certain frequencies, the salt will arrange itself into organized geometrical patterns, becoming aligned with areas on the plate that are nodes of stillness. The salt will not stay on any area that is vibrating- these are the antinodes.
The complexity of the patterns of nodes and anti nodes in the standing waves of resonating plates yields more complexity when higher frequencies are used to excite the medium. Many different mediums have been used for Chladni experiments including using gels and non-newtonian fluids in place of the salt, or using a different set up with lighted bowls of water excited by sound and photographed from above. There is a 'special frequency', unique to each medium, when a state of resonance is reached within 'the system' an equilibrium state will be achieved where standing waves are set up to move back forth across the mass/medium in harmonious ways.
On the Sonosphere, your body becomes the medium which will be resonated with sub bass frequencies (5-100 hz) as part of the vibrating Sonosphere 'System'. The cymatic sound bed platform is fitted with 10 sub bass haptic transducer shakers (these are the style of haptic speakers they place beneath the seats in IMAX movie theaters to shake the audience during explosions in movies).
The 2 tons of steel and plexiglass on the Sonosphere will absorb a large amount of the sound waves, as will your body, as part of the overall mass of the system. The fundamental resonant frequency (and subsequent harmonics) that are found to put your body in a state of flux with the Sonosphere is a unique frequency for just your body, based on your mass. We will be able to calculate the perfect harmonics to add to the fundamental frequency to customize a sound resonance bath to relax and invigorate your body at the same time. Chladni and Cymatic experiments are generally smaller in size and the Sonosphere is the first device of it's kind to bring cymatics to life sized proportions, with enough power to resonate a human body.
Chladni Plate with Salt Video
TRANCE INDUCING ENVIRONMENT
The Sonosphere has several added layers of the experience that involve affecting the Feng Shui of the mind through the external environment. We want our Sonosphere riders to be as relaxed as possible. We want them to easily 'melt' and surrender into the experience, feeling comfort as they realize the amazing sensation that the Sonosphere provides. Extra care has been taken to design this experience from beginning to end, using all of the tools and modalities that have been proven to assist in the therapeutic healing process, no matter what that may look like for each individual.
Designing the surrounding room containing the Sonosphere is a big part of how the experience is received. The room is dark, and covered in softly glowing stars, a galaxy swirls softly on the ceiling and walls. Being enclosed in a simulation of a star field in space, excites the imagination and provides further relaxation via sensory deprivation.
Sensory deprivation has long been studied and proven to have many positive benefits for physical, mental and emotional health. Adding this layer to the Sonosphere experience only deepens the level of healing one can experience here, and it gives us another element that we can customize, especially for HSP (Highly Sensitive People) who need a more gentle transition from the outer world into the Sonosphere.
WHY THE SPINNING COPPER SPHERE?
The Sonosphere's spinning (kinetic) copper sphere has multiple purposes. It is integral to the circuit of resonance and provides some comforting effects as well. The sphere is made of 8 copper pipes which are bent into semi-circles, coming together to form a 'sphere'. The sphere spins around the cymatic sitting platform at a slow variable speed and is connected to the main platform via a series of electrical brushes. The sphere's purpose is 3 fold:
Copper is one of the most conductive metals on the planet, and can be used to make a simple antenna or inducting coil. A significant amount of static electrical charge builds up on the acrylic platform when people ride the Sonosphere. Static electricity is stripped off from hair, skin and clothing by the vibrations in the surface chemistry of the acrylic and steel materials that comprise the Sonosphere. The sphere collects the static electricity and grounds it safely into the building's electrical system. The copper can also pickup stray radio waves and wifi waves, clearing the internal space of interference.
• BUFFERS HARMONIC RESONANCE
The copper pipes which comprise the sphere are essential in containing the resonance of the Sonosphere to the internal space by helping to form a type of 'Helmholtz Resonator' shape or a speaker shape where we have a resonating cavity that is large enough for a person to be inside. When the sphere spins, the copper rings move through the space at a rapid (enough) speed that they can be assumed to be a solid sphere of copper from a physics perspective- This resonate 'cavity' of kinetic copper mass can contain the sound waves of harmonic resonance while also acting as part of the harmonic tuning of the Sonosphere as an instrument- creating layers of upper harmonic frequencies as sound travels through the tubes.
• RELAXING & TRANCE INDUCING
The spinning of the sphere around you and the pulsing lights in sync with the pure tones, creates a trance-inducing environment which helps you unplug from the outer world, and drift deep inside your own consciousness, and body.
Deep states of meditation have been achieved by participants on the Sonosphere 1.0 and 2.0. We have collected 100s of testimonials on the relaxing and mind-clearing effects of the Sonosphere- and this was before we added the super tactile bass transducers! We know from our experiments with hundreds of participants that the spinning of the sphere is one of the cornerstones of the experience.
Installation Art as AN Immersive, TherapEUTic Experience
Installation art is one of the most important and provocative developments in the visual arts during the last half century and has become a key focus of artists and of contemporary museums. Art installations represent 'a monumental shift in emphasis from traditional bounded sculptures or two-dimensional images placed before a viewer, installation artworks are instead comprised of site-specific pieces that envelop an individual, often incorporating aspects of the existing environment and designed to bring about complex sensory and emotional experiences' (MOCA, 2002)
We love the concept that an experience of art could expand past just viewing a 2D image framed on a wall, but become a 3D art environment, and be interactive with the experiencer.
The Sonosphere has been an art installation from the very beginning. Louisa's original intentions were to capture the hearts and imaginations of viewers by creating a kind of 'strange attractor'- A lure towards an experience that reminded you of many things- you can't quite put your finger on, yet is one of the most unique things you've ever tried.
Our continued mission is to refine and dial-in our Sonosphere and environment to a tailored art experience, that is like being on a space ship, suspended in a star field, allowing you to be truly free from the outside world, and your ordinary reality, and slip into the realm of imagination and creation. The void-like environment lends itself well to meditation, mental focus, deep relaxation, elevated joy and even bliss.
The overall look and feel of the Sonosphere was inspired by decades of sci-fi books and movies, but especially the Disney movie, 'Flight of the Navigator' from the 80's. In it, David the protagonist is whisked away in a chrome UFO by a sentient space ship he calls 'Max'. Max requires a navigator and David finds himself on an amazing adventure through outer space, being the pilot of alien space ship which is 100% shiny silver chrome on the inside and outside. This design aesthetic is deeply integrated into the art installation experience.
For more information on the scientific exploration of the effects of immersive art installations, please read this peer reviewed study: Capturing Aesthetic Experiences With Installation Art: An Empirical Assessment of Emotion, Evaluations, and Mobile Eye Tracking in Olafur Eliasson’s “Baroque, Baroque!”