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UVU Student Wins Silver Medal At International Audio Engineering Competition

30 October 2013 No Comment

October 30, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Whitney Wilkinson

Written by: Layton Shumway

Utah Valley University student Drew Cordova won the silver medal at the 2013 Audio Engineering Society Student Design Competition in New York City on Oct. 18, showcasing a unique analog synthesizer that uses light to control its sounds.

Cordova, a sophomore studying digital media with an audio emphasis, was recognized for his self-designed device, called the Phototroph Rhythm Synth. Unlike traditional synthesizers, which use piano-style keyboards, computers or other buttons to control their sounds, the Phototroph creates automated beats using sensors that read changes in the amount of nearby light. The sounds can be controlled by casting a shadow or shining a flashlight on the sensors.

“Phototroph is a completely unique light-controlled electronic instrument,” Cordova said. “Anyone can walk up to it, playfully cast shadows and light across its control surface and hear the complex results of simple motions.”

UVU professor of digital media Mike Wisland said attendees at the competition enjoyed playing with the Phototroph on the convention floor, as its unique properties drew ample and interested crowds.

“The judges were quite impressed with the design, especially since it’s an analog device,” Wisland said. “This is an impressive feat, since we are doing battle with some very large guns, schools that are very well known for their engineering programs.”

Cordova intends to turn his Phototroph into an interactive art installation to be displayed at museums and other public events.

The competition included students from universities across the United States, Germany and Japan. The contest was part of AES’s annual convention, which drew more than 18,000 attendees. The AES is an international organization devoted to audio technology and includes more than 95 student sections around the world.

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