Project Equipment & Apparatuses

The soundscape phase will be conducted within the Hive facility in Abertay university. The following list of equipment and apparatuses are needed to carry out and to also measure the effectiveness of the fear inducing soundscape.

Headphones (future purchase)

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 32 Ohm

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Planetgizmo ([no date])

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 has been recommended to me by my old college’s technician as it will be best suited for this research project. Needless to say, I needed to investigate into why this is the best suited for the job.

The frequencies response is always the main priority when one is purchasing a decent pair of headphones – let alone for a specific research project such as this. The deciding factor for these headphones will the bass frequencies response within the frequency spectrum, as I will need a pair of headphones that can respond to frequencies any below 20 Hz. This is simply because I will be implementing infrasound within my soundscape and it is well-known audio technique to induce anxiety. Infrasound is known to be at a range of anything below 20 Hz. Paranormal Activity and Irreversible are movies that have famously used infrasound to intend this very effect within the audiences.

The frequency response table of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 below, shows that it has a very good bass and treble frequency response. The lower bass frequency will mean these headphones will respond well with low pitched sounds like animal growl or infrasound whilst equally responsive response in the treble frequencies, as a result, would mean better quality of sounds in the nonlinear spectrum. The use of the aforementioned sound design techniques will be implemented in my soundscape so therefore these headphones will be ideally suited for this particular project.

DT 770 (blue) Frequency Response Chart

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Lauen (2014)

Galvanic Skin Response & Heart Rate Monitor (future purchase)

Heart Rate Monitor

Measurements of fear can be analysed on a scientific level by the means of an individual’s heart rate. This practice of measurement of this nature has been established for many years and it is something all human experience when the flight-or-fight mode is triggered; increased heart rate, shallower breathing, etc. The heart rate variability (HRV) is a physiological marker of how human experience and regulate emotions (Aldao 2014), and in this case, measurements of the emotional response of fear.

Measuring Heart Rate – Wrist or Strap?

To measure user’s heart rate as accurate as possible, a measuring apparatus like a wrist band/Fitbit or a chest strap is needed for the soundscape phase. But which of the two is more reliable in terms of accuracy? And on a student budget?

Sharon Profis (2014) from CNET.com have investigated into the very nature of this question and had put a five branded smart devices (4 wristbands/watch and a Samsung phone with an in-build monitor) on test runs – quite literally on a treadmill. Dr. Jon Zaroff, a cardiologist at Kasier Permanente medical centre in San Francisco had placed electrical sensor pads from EKG machine as the official reading. He then placed a Garmin chest strap heart rate monitor to simultaneously test alongside the branded wristbands during the tests. Dr. Zaroff explains that the Germin chest straps have EKG leads which has electrical sensing technology, the same technology an EKG machine uses so therefore, it should in theory, “work very well”, whereas the wristbands use optical sensors; this means it measures the blood flow and not the electrical activities within the human’s heart and the fact that it is not near to the source of measurement. The test results revealed that all wristbands/watches were inaccurate and “way off” whereas the in-build monitor from Samsung Galaxy S5 were the closest to the EKG machine. The Germin chest strap used remained consist throughout the test.

Conclusion

The general consensus is that the chest strap is more faithful compared to most branded wrist bands/watch in terms of measurements of the human heart rate. Other website such as Wareable.com (2016) have reinforced this claim by doing similar tests.

The Germin chest strap heart monitor seems to be the solid choice for this project, with additional recommendations from users such as RIZKNOWS (2015). The price for this products are around £30 to £40, which is affordable and therefore, is reason why this chest strap will be used to measure user’s heart rate during the soundscape phase of this project.

Garmin Soft Strap & Premium Heart Rate Monitor HRM Forerunner Edge 010-10997-07

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Vikusi (2016) – eBay

Galvanic Skin Response

Galvanic skin response (GSR) also known as skin conductance response (SCR) or electrodermal activity (EDA) is the electrical conductance of your skin, primarily affected by sweat. The sweat released through our skin is measured through the use of an apparatus sensor which essentially measures the sweatiness of the hand/fingers, as salty water serves as an excellent conductor.

The GSR is something I had cross referenced time and time again when referring to measuring the emotional arousal of fear on scientific and analytical level. Although this seem to be an established practice, there a criticism of how accurate it can detect specific emotional arousal as there are many variables when considering its effectiveness; Steven Novella (2015) states “Sweatiness, in turn, can be affected by a number of variables, one of which is your current level of psychological “arousal.” Arousal is a deliberately non-specific term, because many types of arousal can increase your autonomic activity which causes sweating. Arousal can be anger, fear, anxiety, being startled, excited, or under mental stress. You cannot tell which simply by measuring EDA”, he also added that “There is also a great deal of individual variability. Different people have very different levels of autonomic activity in response to different stimuli. These highly variable responses can then further vary based upon mood, environment, medication, and underlying conditions.”

I had reached out via e-mail to two companies – imotions and Neulog, which advertises apparatus that can give me the galvanic skin response measurements I need for the project. The e-mails that I had sent contained questions such as suitable age group, if the apparatus is indeed suited for my project and price range with a possibility of student discount. Only Neulog got back to me and had informed that their apparatus will indeed be suitable for my project, so therefore, I will be using the Find Neulog Galvanic Skin Response Sensor, 10 Ns Resolution, 100 S/sec Maximum Sample at approximately £90.

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Pospos1003 (2016)

Conclusion

The variables Novella (2015) had mentioned above that can potentially give inaccurate readings of emotional arousal of fear is duly noted. However, considering the session will be conducted in a room, with an average room temperature, would eliminate any initial excessive sweating. The detailing brief chat with participants before the sessions contains questions that relates to medical or pertaining to underlying conditions that can rise the participants’ heart rate or indeed, increase of sweat as direct result of side effect(s). Furthermore, the heart rate monitor acts as the second measuring tool, and as cross reference for spikes or peaks within the readings from the data collected from both apparatus during the soundscape session. These data are then processed and compared to the timescale of fear inducing sound design implemented within the soundscape to produce a final conclusion for my dissertation.

Night Vision Video Camera & Recording (future purchase)

To capture user’s emotional arousal of fear, for data collection and analysis, night vision camera is needed to capture user’s reaction during sessions as it will be conducted in complete darkness. A few options are available in order to carry out this task with a limited budget; night vision dash car camera (around £20), Infrared Mini 8pin 108op HD USB night vision camcorder (around £20) and finally, Wi-Fi security infrared camera (around £60). Fortunately, there are plenty of demonstration videos on YouTube on most of the low cost night vision camera recorders. Even though it will cost around £40 more, I have decided to play it safe and will go for the Wi-Fi security infrared camera as it will provide the best quality and capture the key moments of each participant’s reactions during the soundscape phase. It will also mean that I will not have to worry about not capturing user’s reaction properly as the first two options of night vision cameras were way too poor and grainy.

The Hikvision DS-2CE16D1T-IR 2MP 3.6mm Fixed Lens HDTVI 1080p 20m IR Bullet Camera seems to lowest costing whilst providing the best quality video at around £40. After a few exchange of e-mails with Hikvision, they had kindly informed me that I will need a ‘switch’ in order to recorder ‘on-the-fly’ from the laptop. The bullet camera will need to be connected to the switch then switch connected to my laptop to enable recording of any sort. This will effectively double-up as a night vision monitor as I will be present in the room during the soundscape phase; this is important as I will need to keep an eye on users for any discomfort or should the participant wish to stop at any stage. Participants will be reminded to take the headphones off before the start of the session, should they wish to disengage from any further advancements of the research process.

Hikvision DS-2CE16D1T-IR 2MP 3.6mm Fixed Lens HDTVI 1080p 20m IR Bullet Camera

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Daian. 2016

Network RJ45 switch Netgear GS 105E 5 port 1 Gbit/s

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Conrad (2016)

Laptop and Sound Card Interface (Owned)

Laptop

The choice of laptop and sound card for the project used will be the Lenovo G50-70 and the Scarlett 2i4 simply because this is the equipment I own, and the processing power are more than capable of handling any DAW (digital audio station) I will be using for this project, such as Pro Tools 12, Audacity, Reaper and Ableton Live 9 Lite.

Full specifications: https://www.cnet.com/products/lenovo-g50-70-59427099/specs/

Lenovo G50-70

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Cunsumentenbond (2016)

Sound Card (Audio Interface)

The Scarlett 2i4 is a sound card that I will be using to record and mix the soundscape. I had used the 2i2 USB audio interface during my college days thoroughly impressed with the sound quality that it had provided and so, I had decided to upgrade to its bigger brother –  the 2i4. The 2i4 is also small and convenient to carry around to do live recording, provide phantom power (48v) to condenser microphones, one of the best audio interface at the equivalent price range and also, it has two more outputs compared to its predecessor, the 2i2.

Full specifications: https://uk.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i4/specifications

Scarlett 2i4

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Focusrite (2016)

References

Headphones

Lauen. 2014. I need new headphones. Available from: https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/147082-i-need-new-headphones/

Planetgizmo. [no date]. Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO Closed Back Headphones 250Ω (DT 770). [Online image]. Available from: http://www.planetgizmo.co.uk/beyerdynamic-dt770_pro-closed-back-headphones-250-8486-dt-770.html

Galvanic Skin Response & Heart Rate Monitor

Aldao, A. 2014. What Is Heart Rate Variability? And Why Does It Matter? [Online image]. Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sweet-emotion/201406/what-is-heart-rate-variability-and-why-does-it-matter [Accessed 23 November 2016].

Novella, S. 2015. Galvanic Skin Response Pseudoscience. [Online]. Available from: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/galvanic-skin-response-pseudoscience/ [Accessed 1 December 2016].

Pospos1003, 2016. NEULOG Galvanic Skin Response Sensor, 10 nS Resolution, 100 S/sec Maximum Sample. [Online eBay image]. Available from: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/222302672861?lpid=122&chn=ps&adgroupid=13585920426&rlsatarget=pla-142405556706&adtype=pla&poi=&googleloc=1007321&device=c&campaignid=207297426&crdt=0

Profis, S. 2014. Do wristband heart trackers actually work? A checkup. [Online]. Available from: https://www.cnet.com/uk/news/how-accurate-are-wristband-heart-rate-monitors/ [Accessed 23 November 2016].

Vikusi. 2016. Garmin Soft Strap & Premium Heart Rate Monitor HRM Forerunner Edge 010-10997-07. [eBay image]. Available from: http://www.ebay.com/itm/GARMIN-HRM3-Premium-Heart-Rate-Monitor-HRM-010-10997-07-Forerunner-Edge-Vivofit-/221264781991

Wareable. 2015. The real world wrist-based heart rate monitor test: are they accurate enough? [Online]. Available from: http://www.wareable.com/fitness-trackers/heart-rate-monitor-accurate-comparison-wrist [Accessed 23 November 2016].

Night Vision Recording

Conrad. 2016. Network RJ45 switch Netgear GS 105E 5 port 1 Gbit/s. [Online image]. Available from: http://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/973846/Network-RJ45-switch—-Netgear—-GS-105E—-5-ports—-1-Gbits

Daian. 2016. Hikvision DS-2CE16D1T-IR 2MP 3.6mm Fixed Lens HDTVI 1080p 20m IR Bullet Camera. [Online image]. Available from: http://daian.vn/products/ds-2ce16c0t-irp-hikvision

Laptop and Sound Card Interface

Cunsumentenbond. 2016. Lenovo Essential G50-70 (59414462). [Online image]. Available from: https://www.consumentenbond.nl/laptop/producten/lenovo/essential-g50-70-59414462

Focusrite. 2016. Specifications. [Online image]. Available from: https://uk.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i4/specifications

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