Kelly Dobson & Brian Whitman > Bird Translation

We were thrilled to be invited to STEIM in early January as part of our ongoing work on translation.

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We got the chance to work with accordionist Jonas Kocher, who played along with our collections of bird sounds in order to train our machine learning models of what can turn anything into a bird. His patience and skill are impressive!

Example birdJonas translation

Example birdJonas translation

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We relished the opportunity to sit in the top floor of STEIM, feeling and hearing all the history and inspiration wind up the stairs. The laptop we brought with us couldn’t crunch the relationships fast enough but once back in Boston we started synthesizing the first automated translations:

Hear a budgie singalong.

The translations are courtesy some custom analysis and synthesis tools we’re working on, in a large part based on the work of DAn Ellis and Tristan Jehan with some ideas based on our paper from WASPAA in 2005.

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Even the feet of some of the Vondelpark birds got to us through their transmission in ice via a stethoscope microphone designed by Kelly. A gorgeous week at STEIM, thanks to Robert and Takuro and Nico and of course Byunjun, Max and Andreas for the hospitality. We hope you’ll have us again!

Kelly Dobson & Brian Whitman

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