How about if simply placing an object of value to me on my phone – such as the Chinese figurine left – automatically triggers ‘audio content’: could be memories, could be randomly triggered sounds and rhythms, could be cultural content; could be…

A value-object is an object which hold personal and emotional value to the possessor. I’m sure we all have similar value-objects. I, for example, am sitting looking at an owl whistle I bought on Marajo Island – a huge island in the mouth of the Amazon in Brazil. When I look at it, or lift it up, or blow it, all those memories of visiting Brazil and especially Marajo come flooding back. So the idea is really very simple: how about if simply placing the whistle on my iPhone automatically triggered ‘memory-content’ as audio – no pictures, just audio (I’m convinced after 17 years of making soundscapes that ‘hearing’ is actually a more evocative sense than seeing!)?

What could that ‘memory-content’ be? It it could be rhythms of the Amazon; it could be what’s currently going on in that region; it could be cultural, political… whatever. ‘Randomly’ is important.

So this prototyping study – supported by the University of Bristol, many thanks – aims as a first stage to find out how – or indeed, whether – people respond to the idea of simply placing value-objects on their phone as a way to trigger and stream audio content.

In tech-speak: The INtuiT (Intuitive Tactile User Interface) Prototyping Study is an investigation of the affordances of VO’s (‘value-objects’) as tactile objects interfacing with the smartphone to trigger audio content

The INtuiT project arises out of Connecting Through Culture and is supported by the University of Bristol


  • Ralph Hoyte (Pervasive Media Studio resident)
  • Tarim (Creative Technologist)
  • Jawahar de Sousa
  • Frank Burnet
  • Gaia Burnet

NEXT UP: we are taking part in a Show & Test event with two other projects at the Pervasive Media on Studio on Thursday 16 February 13.30-16.30. We aim to talk, then let you loose on some VOs and phone-looking thingies and some random content and let you play with them! Please be kind – it’ll all be a cardboard, foam, pieces of string and scratching our communal chin kind of affair!