London Design Festival: Nicola Hume, Listen Here

Exhibiting at 100% Design as part of the London Design Festival that took place last week, Nicola Hume’s “Listen Here” project allows locals to share live sounds from the city with tourists.

Locals leave microphones in their beloved spots around the city, and then mark the place on a map. When a visitor points to a particular place on the map using an attached stethoscope, they can hear the sounds of that place in real time.

Hume’s booth works by using an embedded RFID technology that enables a live sound feed from the microphone to be played. One prototype uses a baby monitor within the microphone. According to Hume, it’s giving tourists the opportunity to visit places that won’t necessarily be in standard travel books and enticing them to stray from the beaten track. From a local point of view it also allows residents to promote their area and attract tourism to locations where it is needed.

Hume’s project is ambitious and hard to envisage in real life situations – although the microphones have locks, it won’t stop the most determined of thieves from stealing it. And who would co-ordinate the distribution of the microphones to local people and stop them from simply walking off with it?

It is no doubt a great invention that probably deserves the backing (and possibly money) of galleries like the Tate Modern. Imagine stepping into a booth and being able to hear the various sounds of the city live as they happen, the bustle of Brixton Market, conversations over coffee in Crouch End or the peaceful chipping of birds at Kew Gardens

You can find out more about the project here