In cooperation with Sennheiser Design Management in Zürich, I developed an innovative home speaker system.
Industrial, Interaction, Strategic
“Living Speaker” creates a unique audio experience at home. Its sensors enable lifelike interaction on multiple channels.
How Sennheiser Might Enter a New Market
My bacherlor's thesis started with analyzing different ways to transport sound and experience music. Focussing on Sennheiser as a trusted brand and a company full of audio-technological capabilities, I analyzed their market position and decided to place a concept in a segment yet untouched: private audio.
I started this project by understanding how sound can be experienced. What are the situations, in which sound is relevant, and how could they be clustered? I set out to map the cosmos of sound.
On the other hand, I focussed on technologies that could create a multi sensory experience. Diving into tangible interaction benchmarks as well as olfactory or visual settings and even synesthetic art.
Sennheiser is a world-renowned brand with family-owned values. From their long history, they have suitable microphones, headphones or studio monitors for any professional context. I needed to understand their portfolio in order to decide in which context to place the project.
It became clear that Sennheiser did not produce loudspeakers for the private sector until then. At the same time, this market segment seemed to be growing. It made sense to use Sennheiser’s strong brand as a quality leader to develop an innovation for this segment.
Knowing the target segment, I gathered interview partners to start the specific user research. The goal was to find specialized requirements on the speaker and understand how current speakers were used.
At the end I knew the boundaries and could build diverse concepts in an iterative process.
Tangible 3D audio in private homes
and a smart speaker that feels
The users needed a flexible speaker system that’s fit for active listening as well as atmospheric background music. Therefore I created a stand-alone smart-speaker that can also connect with more of its kind to create a three-dimensional experience.
Interaction with a Smart Object
The idea was to create lifelike, multimodal interaction. Each output channel can be used as an input channel too.
So as the speaker emits sound, it is also capable of listening. As the user can give touch-commands the speaker can give tangible feedback. And as the speaker displays the music genre by projecting color through built in LEDs, the user can choose a color to determine the genre.
Disclaimer: Ambeo Soundbar
While I was working on this project, Sennheiser developed its Ambeo Soundbar in parallel. Though there are some conceptual similarities, these projects are not linked.
Nevertheless it’s great to see that Sennheiser made the same decisions on a strategic level.