Audification is an auditory display technique for representing a sequence of data values as sound. A definition describes it as a "direct translation of a data waveform to the audible domain." An audification does this by interpreting the data sequence, usually a time series, as an audio waveform: input data is mapped to sound pressure levels. Various signal processing is often used to bring out salient data features.
Audification is particularly applicable to large datasets with periodic components. Many data values are needed to make an audification, and audification allows the listener to hear periodic components as frequencies. For instance, seismic data has been audified by the successful differentiation of events caused by bomb blasts from those caused by earthquakes.
A 2007 study by Sandra Pauletto and Andy Hunt at the University of York suggests that users were able to detect attributes such as noise, repetitive elements, regular oscillations, discontinuities, and signal power in audification of time-series data to a degree comparable with using visual inspection of spectrograms. Applications include audification of seismic data and of human neurophysiological signals. An example is the esophageal stethoscope, which amplifies naturally occurring sound without conveying inherently noiseless variables such as the result of gas analysis.
Audification vs sonification
Both sonification and audification are representational techniques in which data sets or its selected features are mapped into audio signals. However, audification is a kind of sonification, a term which encompasses all techniques for representing data in non-speech audio. Their relationship can be demonstrated in the way data values in some sonifications that directly define audio signals are called audification.
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