Putney Student Creates Unique 'Listening Chair'

Rebecca Board is part of student team from Middlesex University


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26 year old Rebecca and her talented colleagues are all design students from Middlesex University that have created an interactive 'Listening Chair' for Grammy and Ivor Novello Award winning musician Imogen Heap, to gather the views of her fans and inspire her next song.

Fans who sit in the egg shaped chair will come face to face with a visor containing a tablet computer, camera, microphone, speakers and LED strips with a video of Imogen asking them their views on "the song that still needs to be written." Fans can then decide whether they want their contribution to be a personal message to Imogen or take a chance on it being used in the video which will accompany the song.

The British musician is known for blurring the boundaries between music and technology and her skill as a writer and producer has led to her songs featuring in films and TV shows from the 'Chronicles of Narnia' to 'The O.C.', and her music regularly sampled by young rappers and producers.

Middlesex students Rebecca Board and Sid Odedra, alongside graduate Iliyan Kukushliev created the chair under the guidance of top designer Moritz Waldemeyer and also had the chance to work with Imogen herself who visited the University to ensure the chair was exactly what she needed to inspire the creative input from fans needed for her new song.

Imogen Heap said:
"I've really enjoyed working on The Listening Chair with the students at Middlesex University. They didn't have long to pull it all together, yet the attention to aesthetic and functional detail wouldn't have you think that. I loved getting to know them especially during our final push as they soldered, tested and problem solved. It was really crunch time but spirits remained high."

This is the latest in a line of high profile projects Middlesex students have worked on with Moritz Waldemeyer. Others include creating illuminated jackets for Take That, work on the video for the Ellie Goulding single 'Lights' and a video bikini for a Las Vegas show. Imogen Heap was so happy with the chair she is starting work on a new project with the students.

The students were excited to see the chair in action in London gathering the feedback that will bring Imogen Heap's next song to life. Middlesex Product Design student Rebecca Board from Putney said: "The project has been amazing experience and allowed me to implement the knowledge I've gained from working on industry projects throughout my course at Middlesex. This is my second project with Moritz after working with him to create the special light effects in Ellie Goulding's music video. Its great working and learning from such a leading designer as his projects involve experimental technologies to create the most innovative results. He definitely forces us to think outside the box to get the required result."

The chair was unveiled at the Sound Summit in Sydney on 25 May, featured at the Royal Festival Hall on the 16, 17 and 22 June on London's Southbank and will travel to Edinburgh this week.

June 25, 2012