Who searches for 'trans-dimensional portal' on the internet will quite soon be in esoteric circles, where it will be described as 'a gateway between universes'. At the 4K CineGrid Studio at the Waag in Amsterdam, developers are currently building an installation by that name. What can we expect there? Will we soon be able to jump into another dimension? Who knows.
The Trans-Dimensional Portal (TDP) is basically a 12.4 (12 speakers + 4 subwoofers) interactive, periphonic (3D) immersive audio environment based on a sound field encoding and rendering technology known as Ambisonics. The actual structure is based on a cube with edges approximately 3 meters in length, with a speaker placed at the midpoint of each cube edge. Using open source software it is possible for producers, musicians, and researchers to create then render fully-immersive 3D soundscapes in real-time. Sound objects can be placed anywhere within a sphere around the listener, using a coordinate-based panning system (distance, azimuth, elevation). Additionally, sound objects can be processed through various spatialization effects such as 3D reverbs, choruses, beat-synchronized delay lines and sample granulators (currently under development). In other words, it is an end-to-end production environment for 3D audio content creation and playback. Interactivity is achieved via iPads or other iOS devices using Open Sound Control over WiFi to software running on a Mac (Max/MSP, Ableton Live, MaxForLive, to name a few of the available non-open source tools). Gestural control of the soundfield or individual sound objects is also planned, using devices such as the Microsoft Kinect, Leap Motion, and ZSpace.
So far the technical side of this story. This revolutionary sound installation (partly based on existing, partly on newly developed technology) can be used for very special music experiences but also for therapeutic purposes, like putting you asleep within 5 minutes, measuring your brain activitivity or influencing your heart rhythm.
Appsterdam took the initiative to bring the developers of the TDP to Amsterdam supported by Leon Ramakers (Mojo). You can follow the developers on Facebook.