But this is not always and not everywhere.
In many cultures, the sound filling of public space has traditionally not inferior to the visual. Eastern markets are more densely saturated with sounds, which can cause European discomfort. In some countries, the day still begins with the cry of the muezzin, Israeli Jews learn about Saturday using a siren, and the Chinese script, by its nature visually saturated, contributes to the popularity of audio messages in local messengers.
Voice assistants are increasingly appearing in our homes and smart devices. But there are other types of sound interfaces – on the street and beyond. We will talk about them below.
Photo Guillaume de Germain / Unsplash
On the street
Road traffic requires the driver to focus – mainly, it is about visual perception. But it may not be enough. Therefore, many devices designed to maintain safety on the roads use additional – sound – incentives.
Speeding is one of the main reasons why accidents occur. But, as practice shows, drivers often ignore the speedometer. Fortunately, modern cars are equipped with sensors, on the basis of which you can create a complete audio notification system.
With the help of sounds, you can remind the driver of speeding, and also inform him in advance of a potential collision. A study by Chinese scientists showed that auxiliary audio signals significantly increase the driver’s ability to control the speed of the car. At the same time, sound in itself is more effective than a combination of sound and light. In the case of an auxiliary visual stimulus, drivers slow down more slowly.
A similar Taiwanese study, which tested an audio alert system for an impending collision, also showed that the presence of sound stimuli dramatically reduces the driver’s response time to road noise. Sounds help drivers reduce their braking time by at least two tenths of a second — which at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour can be the difference between the life and death of a pedestrian.
Pedestrians also often ignore visual signs designed to stop them from committing dangerous actions. This problem is especially serious in France, where statistics show that in 41.9% of cases people cross the road to a red light. To show how dangerous this behavior is, a local organization installed billboards at traffic lights that emitted the sound of a sharply braking machine when trying to break. A hidden camera, mounted nearby, filmed the reaction of pedestrians to this sound, after which their frightened faces fell on the billboard itself with the inscription "Do not take risks to face death."