About this Research Topic
From early formulation of auditing, such as comparing the sound of commodities or "hearing of accounts" in Mesopotamia, as early as 3500 BCE (Worrall, 2009), to the three inventions from the 19th century, the Bell telephone, the Edison phonograph, and the Marconi radiotelegraphy, sound and audio were used and transformed to convey information. Many of these developments included translations of information into sound and were so powerful and rich of outcomes to change ultimately our relation to hearing in general.
Though simplistic forms of sonification were always employed to represent phenomena from the physical world, the rapid developments at the end of last century in psychoacoustics, data manipulation, sound synthesis, and sonification techniques, caused an outburst of research in this field (Auditory Display: Sonification, Audification, and Auditory Interfaces, Kramer, ed, 1994; The Sonification Handbook, Hermann, Hunt, and Neuhoff, eds, 2011). Central application areas such as data navigation, status and process monitoring, motor tutoring for sports and exercise, and assistive technology for people with disabilities, became sites of strategic interest for sonification.
Sonifications are a subtype of auditory displays that use sound structures devoid of linguistic elements to represent information. Kramer and colleagues (ICAD, 1999) have neatly defined sonification as "the transformation of data relations into perceived relations in an acoustic signal for the purposes of facilitating communication or interpretation". The sense of hearing has the potential to convey in a simple way information that is complementary or alternative to visualization.
With this premise, the implementation of sonification into various fields could provide major advances for the interpretation of data. Specifically, the approach was recently integrated within the field of neuroscience to facilitate the understanding of biological mechanisms and structures. Applications are manifold including behavioral monitoring, complex data extracting and analysis, algorithm development and interface implementations. Finally, sonification is increasingly being used as an esthetic concept and method in the artistic and entertainment domain.
Over time categorizations of sonification approaches have been developed yet the definitional boundaries to taxonomic descriptions are indistinct and often overlapping. Seeing that sonification is considered to be an interdisciplinary approach to information display, we believe that a collective endeavor is necessary to resolve the existing inconsistencies and, perhaps, to create some sort of a standard within this field.
We encourage researchers from the classical fields of life sciences such as: anatomy, physiology, biotechnology, motor control, and computational biology to converge with those active in other fields of investigation as: acoustics, biomedia arts, multi media applied sciences, information processing, and signal theory and communication.
We welcome researchers to contribute their original papers as well as review articles relevant to the topic to: provide works regarding the implementation of sonification, debate the existing findings in the field, discuss possible translational extensions, with special focus on therapeutic applications.
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