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A Creepy Floating Orb That Captures and Replays Ambient Noise

•, By Liz Stinson
 The sphere is just idling there, seemingly harmless aside from ambient gibberish emanating from its surface. On the scale of things that are creepy, this scenario would probably rank pretty high. And indeed, it does sound like the beginning of a surrealist horror movie.

Not to freak you out: This object is real. But once you understand its mission, the floating black ball is almost disappointingly benign. “A lot of people do interpret it as this sinister moving presence that’s following people around,” says Will Yates-Johnson. “But actually it’s meant to be sort of a passive presence.”

Yates-Johnson, along with Francesco Tacchini and Julinka Ebhardt, created the sphere, which they refer to as Space Replay as an experiment in manipulating the sounds found in spaces like stairwells, hallways and elevators. These transitional areas of our buildings are full of unobserved sounds. “In these spaces you have these really brief, powerful moments of sound,” Yates-Johnson explains. “The ball is essentially a tool to capture them.”

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