A question you\'ve probably never been asked....

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, Oct 2, 2000.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dear Mr. Lloyd,

    My name is Nina Katchadourian, and I'm an artist living and working in
    Brooklyn, New York (although I was born and raised in the Bay Area!). I've
    been on the web researching Morse Code, where I found your site. I read
    with great interest about QRZ and was struck by the fantastic spirit of the
    project. Since you struck me as both very knowledgeable and friendly, I am
    contacting you to see if you might have any input or advice on a rather odd
    problem I'm trying to solve. I hope you might have a few minutes to read my
    email and offer any suggestions or advice.

    I've had a long-standing interest in language and translation, and my art
    work often touches on these subjects. Years ago, while in graduate school,
    I took a class on Morse Code, which has always interested me. My art spans
    many mediums, among them sound and sculpture, and a new project that I'm
    working on integrates all these things.

    The idea, in a nutshell, is this: I'd want to build a machine that will
    take sound of popping corn, and translate it, via Morse Code, into
    language. A computer-generated voice will then read out the resulting
    sounds or words. I imagine using a very typical popcorn vendor's cart, the
    type you might see at a circus for example, which would then be hooked up
    to various microphones and computers.

    As I see it, there are two phases to this translation process: first,
    translating from the sound of the popping corn into dits and dahs, and
    second, translating the code into letters and words that can be read by a
    computer and "spoken." The second phase seems relatively simple, but the
    first part requires quite a bit of thought and work.

    Popcorn only pops in short sounds, of course. I believe that, since it's
    possible to "knock out" code, one could determine what a dit is and what a
    dah is by the amount of space that follows a sound. One would also need to
    determine the spaces between letters, and between words. I'm not sure how
    to deal with the fact that popcorn "accelerates" as it heats up and begins
    to pop faster.

    "Meaning" is an interesting question with this project. There is a high
    likelihood of getting a "monkey at the typewriter" effect. That might be
    OK, but on the other hand, there are varying amounts of "bias" that could
    be built in to the way sounds are interpreted. For example, a computer
    might be linked to a dictionary/spell check function so that it hears the
    sounds and "leans" towards making meaningful combinations of letters
    whenever possible. If the popping has generated a D and an O, and the third
    sound could be heard as either a K (-.-) or a G (--.), it will pick the G
    to make "DOG." Or, perhaps the computer is set to hear vowels whenever
    possible to increase the chances of meaningful words being generated. The
    degree of accuracy in this project is something that I have to make
    decisions about, but which is also partially determined by what's feasible.

    I exhibit with Debs & Co. Gallery here in New York, and I will exhibit this
    project there at my next show which is in early January 2001. This project
    is going to be exhibited next year in San Francisco at Catharine Clark
    Gallery, my representatives on the west coast (in fact, I have a sound
    piece up there at the moment!). The project is also likely to travel. All
    of this is happening shockingly soon, and the more information I can gather
    now, the better it would be!

    I don't do any computer programming myself (gee, can you tell?) and I'm
    obviously going to have to find someone who can do that part of this
    project for me. Since my background isn't in this field, it's hard for me
    to gauage how difficult ANY of this is. At this point, I'm collecting
    opinions from far and wide about different ways to solve this problem. If
    you have any ideas, feedback or thoughts about the project, or if can point
    me to someone who could help (or even DO the programming!) I would be
    extremely, extremely appreciative.

    Thanks very much for your time.


    Nina Katchadourian

  2. W1QT

    W1QT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Being a very high speed telegraphy person, I have copyed what the POP-CORN was sending,..it was 100% copy message from POP-CORN was,............
    WX...HR..IS...HOT!...HOT!....YEEeeeAH HOT! BK
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