Art + Science = Innovation – Facts So Romantic

The “chapel” area at the Vocal Vibrations exhibitAmy Kraft

Upon entering the Vocal Vibrations installation at Le Laboratoire Cambridge, visitors are directed to a room called the chapel, where a haunting vocal composition plays out of nine speakers positioned around the room. After relaxing on a bench to focus on the music, people are led one-by-one through a winding hallway to the Cocoon, where they can privately experiment with their own vocalizations. Sing aloud and you can feel the vibrations of your voice in an egg-shaped, hand-held device called an ORB. The vibrations shift as your pitch and tone change, sliding up and down the device, oscillating between dull and strong. (Read more about the science of Vocal Vibrations [pdf].)

“This is a musical experience, a meditational concentration experience,” says Tod Machover, composer and inventor at the MIT Media Lab. He created Vocal Vibrations with architect and designer Neri Oxman and with the help of Al Grodzinsky, a bioengineer at MIT and an expert in biological tissue.

Machover and Grodzinsky hypothesize that harnessing vibrations could have a beneficial effect on certain biological tissues. “Medication can’t fix deteriorating cartilage,” Machover says. “It’s possible that regulated vibration from…
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