News: Technology helps student to tune in

A student’s investigation into the effects of interactive sound displays has been given a helping hand from technology supplied by a Knaresborough company.

Marie Tueje used equipment provided by Apollo Creative as part of her final project for her MA in sound design at the University of York, looking into how people interact with displays in museums.

Young visitors get to grips with Apollo Ensemble, creating 
“soundscapes” by sitting on a bench at the National Railway Museum in York

Marie created an interactive bench which emitted sound effects and clips depending on how many people were sitting on it.

The project was called Immovable Transition, so the idea was that users would take a journey without moving,” she said.

We had recorded soundscapes of trains, engines, announcements and things like that.

We also used some voiceover recording snippets – broken up and disrupted texts that would come in every so often. They were drawn from users’ experiences.

The equipment Marie used was Apollo Ensemble, a piece of technology which is more frequently used in schools to help children with special needs to interact with their environment. It can pick up on a range of different movements allowing the children to create light, sound, video and other effects.

In this case, the technology was installed on a bench at the National Railway Museum in York, where trigger pads on the seat meant visitors could interact with the sounds. Marie said it particularly appealed to older people who needed a rest during their trip to the museum, but who could stay with their families as they played on the bench, rather than being left behind.

Initially, Marie had not planned to carry out any practical work. When her tutor suggested she should, Apollo stepped in to make sure Marie could get the results she needed to complete her work.

I got real feedback on my ideas and it was really interesting in terms of user experience and how that influences their relationship to what they were hearing,” she said.

Just being able to take something that was theoretical and realise it in a practical setting and test it and get feedback was really useful.

Apollo’s creative director Mark Hildred said: “Ensemble has been used in museums before, but it was great to be involved in a research project this time. 

When Marie got in touch to ask if we could help her, I was keen to do whatever I could to bring her theories to life and I’m pleased it has paid off.

To see Marie’s work in action, visit