Audio-Tactile Astronomy Device, 2018
for MIT Media Lab Tangible Interfaces Course

Agatha Park(Harvard GSD), Maggie George(Harvard GSD)
Stephan Hernandez(MIT), Xiaoyan Shen(MIT), Yang Liu(MIT)

ideation / product design + fabrication / logo design / video planning + editing

Starscope is a staff that allows the holder to hear real sounds of stars and other astronomical bodies in the sky.

It began as a project to help our visually impaired friends participate in stargazing and hobbyist astronomy, however, it has proved to be a fantastic tool for sighted stargazers as well.

Image by Stephen Hernandez

Image by Stephen Hernandez

The Starscope uses GPS, a gyroscope, and star location data to create a “hit field” of sound around important stars, so that users can find and pinpoint the appropriate sector of the sky by the strength of the sound emitted and the vibration of the staff.

Starscope draws on data from astrophysics research, including asteroseismological recordings and light graphs converted to audio, providing the user access to the sounds of the universe. Some space sounds can get a bit scary, so there is also a “musical” setting of delicate notes and chords. Starscope reveals the symphony of the night sky.

Staff Head Design Process