Shape-shifting textile cloud can change sound quality in a room

BLOOM is a knitted origami surface that can alter the ambient acoustics of public spaces.

BLOOM looks like a suspended canopy of giant white flowers but it is actually a smart, shape-shifting textile surface that can change the acoustics of a room by responding to its surrounding sounds. The intelligent textile is currently in an advanced prototype phase at the Yeadon Space Agency in New York City in collaboration with designers Jesse Asjes (Jsssjs Product Design) and Laura Wickesberg (WickesWerks LLC).

The design team created the acoustic cloud with a cluster of knitted star-shaped textiles that can each open and close like origami paper. The modular system, which is suspended from a ceiling, is sensitive to sound, contracting and expanding in response to a room’s ambient noise in order to adjust the intensity of the sound.

The fluffy, digitally controlled textiles can open up to absorb sound waves and prevent sound reflection or they can close up when reverberant sound is required. Reverberation forms a prolonged sound wave, which is created when sound waves bounce off surrounding objects in a room and come together to amplify the origin of the sound. An example of reverberation is the quality of sound you hear when singing in a shower.

Ultimately, this means that BLOOM can alter the quality of sound in a room that is required for a particular situation or crowd. The design team envision the acoustic cloud in intimate restaurants and conference rooms, or large airports, schools, auditoriums, and libraries.