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Solar-wind Chime

Developed by designer Helen White during a Communicating Science residency, Solar-wind chime uses satellite data to generate an audible and visual manifestation of energy being released by the sun.

Solar-wind Chime by Helen White

Made by

Helen White

Helen graduated from UWE in 2012 with a degree in Design: Materials, Process, Context. Her work combines an interest in data collection with a fascination for transient environmental phenomena.

With media attention on solar flares and their effects on positive events (the northern lights) or predicted negative events (technological disruption), Helen White joined the Pervasive Media Studio in January 2013 to embark on a graduate and new talent residency, supported by IOP Publishing, to develop a ‘solar-wind chime’. Over a 3 month period Helen developed an installation that is powered by real-time data  triggering an audible and visual representation of the movement of charged particles released from the sun. 

Solar-wind chime uses magnetically generated resonance to sound lengths of aluminium tube in response to solar wind data collected from a satellite an hour away from earth, producing a slowly-evolving audible and visual manifestation of the constant fluctuation of energy being released by the sun.

During her residency, Helen explored the upsurge in the availability of information on a global scale, the challenge of giving form to an aesthetically bereft mass of data, and explored new approaches to science communication using creative technologies.

A recording of her showcase event and panel discussion is available:

Helen in the news:

Artist shows she's got solar flare | The Post | 19.04.13

Listen: New Sounds from Space | The Weather Channel | 09.05.13

Sounding out the Sun | Physics World | 14.05.13

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