What does light sound like? This was the exciting question that Huawei asked a collaborative team of artists and AI experts to highlight the capabilities of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Showcasing the smartphone’s powerful artificial intelligence, they created Sound of Light, an ambitious project to transform the breathtaking Northern Lights into a multi-sensory symphony experience that juxtaposed innovations in AI with a never-before-seen-or-heard Northern Lights language.
In the beginning …
In the open fields under the night skies of Tromsø, Norway, Aurora chaser, Kjetil Skogli, and award-winning composer, Mark Sayfritz, searched for and filmed the Northern Lights. Afterwards, Mark worked in a sound lab with the custom-built AI system that was running on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro to create a symphony based on the footage.
Sayfritz remarks, “Introducing artificial intelligence into my music opens up a whole new range of creative possibilities. The AI system analyses aspects such as colour, size, shape and speed. It then generates variations of my musical phrases, based upon what it sees. So, when the AI recognises a particularly dramatic light show, it can modulate the sounds to reflect that intensity in the composition. I can then incorporate those elements into the symphony.”
Once the musical pieces were composed, James Shearman, one of the world’s best conductors and composers, arranged them for an orchestral performance of the Sound of Light symphony by the Synchron Stage Orchestra in the Brahms Hall in Vienna to an audience of over 300 people. He comments, “My role as conductor is to shape, inspire and direct the performance of the symphony. With the help of AI, I can breathe life into the symphony and make it feel as if the Northern Lights were actually speaking to us through this music.”
Making it possible – the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s role in Sound of Light
For Sound of Light to be realised, it required a powerful device. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro proved to be the perfect collaborator, with the project using many features of the device to support the custom-built AI system and the overall project’s success.
To start, engineers were tasked with creating a unique AI-system that could be trained to recognise and analyse the different characteristics of light. This AI was then taught to correlate the musical elements to a video of the Northern Lights.
All of the musical elements that generated would normally need to utilise high-end computers for the intensive processing phase before the live performance. However, with the support of the custom-built AI system, the team was able to transform the Mate 20 Pro into a next-generation computer. During the live performance, the converted data was fed via the Mate 20 Pro to electronic instruments, which contributed musical accents to the show.
“AI has long been a priority in Huawei’s R&D efforts. AI lets us surpass our limitations and makes it possible to achieve feats once thought beyond our reach, such as the Sound of Light symphony, which is a world-first. Huawei is committed to continuing to explore AI’s capabilities through our intelligent technology,” says Akhram Mohamed, Chief Technology Officer at Huawei Consumer Business Group South Africa.