C. Elegans Meets Data Sonification: Can We Hear its Elegant Movement?

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


SMC Conference 2011 (2011)


We introduce our video-data sonification of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a small nematode worm that has been extensively used as a model organism in molecular biology. C. elegans exhibits various kinds of movements, which may be altered by genetic manipulations. In pursuit of potential applications of data sonification in molecular biology, we converted video data of this worm into sounds, aiming to distinguish the movements by hearing. The video data of C. elegans wild type and transgenic types were sonified using a simple motion-detection algorithm and granular synthesis. The movement of the worm in the video was transformed into the sound cluster of very-short sine-tone wavelets. In the evaluation test, the group of ten participants (from both molecular biology and audio engineering) were able to distinguish sonifications of the different worm types with an almost 100% correct response rate. In the post-experiment interview, the participants reported more detailed and accurate comprehension on the timing of the worm's motion in sonification than in video.

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