PhonoPaper For iOS Lets You Print Audio & Play It Back From Paper

Developer Alexander Zolotov has released PhonoPaper for IOS – a free app that lets you create ‘audio barcodes’.

PhonoPaper is a platform for representing sounds as graphics. It combines a PhonoPaper-code generator to convert sounds into images that you can print on paper and a realtime reader that runs on smartphones (iOS & Android).

It’s designed for both practical uses, like providing audio examples in a printed piece, and for audio experimentation.

Because PhonoPaper turns audio into a tangible object, it lets you tangibly control playback. You control playback speed by the way you move the smartphone ‘playback head’. You can play it forward, backward or ‘scratch’ it.

Here’s an example of using PhonoPaper to play drawn sounds:

PhonoPaper is a free download from the App Store. An Android version is also available.

If you’ve tried PhonoPaper, let us know what you think of it!

16 thoughts on “PhonoPaper For iOS Lets You Print Audio & Play It Back From Paper

  1. mad rad but its just a fad

    but yea this is actually pretty cool, imagine having a hidden print on a vinyl or something and you had to decode it using your phone to hear the secret song.

  2. Gave it a try and it feels sorely underdeveloped. Maybe an update will fix some of the things that make this a 3 instead of a 5 star app in my opinion. I like the SunVox feel to the interface, and it feels like something out of a sci-fi film. I’ll keep it around in case I’m missing something, but the online help wasn’t by helpful. It’s free so I’m not complaining and I think it’s great for a free app.

  3. great idea, downloaded it and couldn’t get it to work . it crashes/freezes my iphone 4 running ios 7.02(11A501) like a ton of bricks and i had to powercycle device to kill the app.

    1. Sad to see people complaining about an app, developed as a labor of love, that’s actually pretty unique.

      There is a long history of electronic experimentation in the area of translating graphics into sound. PhonoPaper makes this accessible to anyone.

      It should be apparent that manipulating sound as graphics is going to give you different results than using a plugin in your DAW. To people that like experimenting with sound, having new tools means having new options to explore.

      This also seems like it could be used as an interesting performance tool. You could print the graphics onto objects, your backdrop, your t-shirt and turn your environment into part of your performance.

      1. Besides, I didn’t really object to the application, but to the use of the words ‘audio barcode’ to describe what is called a sonogram or spectrogram.

      2. This.

        As free apps go, this one is pretty bitchin’. I love just pointing it at random stuff and listening to the sounds it makes.

      3. >This also seems like it could be used as an interesting performance tool.

        If you are into performances like that you could go down to any store with a cash register and watch the check out guy run it.

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