GroupRISE Interactive Piteå

RISE Interactive Piteå

Sound is a natural part of everyday life. Talking and listening is perhaps the most important way to interact with other people. Sound reaches our ears from all directions and informs us about events, materials, distances and directions. Considering this, interactive applications are strangely silent with a few exceptions.

At RISE Interactive Piteå we are specialized in finding creative and unique solutions for the interface between man and machine. Our aim is to involve more senses of the human body in the interaction with her surroundings. Our approach often results in multimodal solutions combining new technologies with different fields of design, where sound design is an important component. 

Who we are

The group consists of people with experience from academia, education and industry in the fields of design, communication as well as music/sound and technology. This mix might explain why we are both good at thinking in new ways and able to create innovative working prototypes and products.

What we do

We like to tackle new problems and challenges and to find innovative solutions to them. We can offer inspiring lectures and workshops, or be your partner in small to large-scale R&D projects. Maybe in your next project we will be your collaboration partner?

”The collaboration with the RISE Interactive Piteå has strongly influenced the way we approach not only sound, but also positively influenced our work with other senses and properties. The demanding environments of the future will require multimodal interfaces, and through this project we ensure that we are in the forefront of research. In addition, we have received methods and processes that we can start to use operatively already today.”
- Torkel Varg, Head of Styling & Vehicle Ergonomics, Scania


Britta Elfving Persson
Research Assistant
+46 70 312 6098
britta.elfving.persson [at]

Johan Fagerlönn
Senior researcher
+46 70 368 98 10
johan.fagerlonn [at]

Kristin Hammarberg
Designer (Maternity leave)
+ 46 76 204 12 68
kristin.hammarberg [at]

Elin Hollström
Project Manager
+46 73 040 77 43
elin.hollstrom [at]

Sofia Larsson
Senior Researcher
+46 70 381 02 12
sofia.larsson [at]

Stefan Lindberg
Sound Designer
+46 70 66 44 996
stefan.lindberg [at]

Anna Sirkka
MSc, Studio Director
+46 73 031 32 15
anna.sirkka [at]


Completed projects



In media


Tools for Sound Design

Within this research area we study user interfaces and investigate the possibilities for improving interaction using sound.

Sound is a very important means of communication in the everyday world and has advantages over other methods of communication. Surveillance of an industrial process or driving a vehicle are to large extend visual tasks. A constantly increasing and more complex information flow in these kinds of environments contribute to the risk that users will become more distracted and confused in critical situations. Sonically-enhanced interfaces may allow the user to employ more appropriate senses to solve a problem, rather than using vision only to solve all problems.

We are also investigating how we can incorporate the esthetical and expressive aspects of sound into the design of new kinds of intuitive and tolerable auditory messages. Besides for industrial applications we are interested in how sound can be used in systems to assist and facilitate people with special needs, such as assistive technology for elderly and visual impaired.


Sound Design for Vehicles

Sound makes future vehicles safer and more attractive.

The design of auditory warning signals is seen as an important factor in vehicle design. Interfaces that include sound have unique advantages over purely visual options. For instance, sound can be perceived from any direction, while visual displays must be seen in order to be effective. Today, new systems and interfaces are constantly implemented in the vehicles. Systems that make use of communicative and carefully implemented sounds, as opposed to purely visual displays, allow drivers to stay focused on the road. Such auditory solutions can have a considerable positive effect on traffic safety. Researchers at the Interactive Institute’s Sonic Studio are currently examining how information flow in vehicles can be improved by the use of auditory and multimodal displays.

Furthermore, electrical and hybrid cars will become more common on our roads. The external sound of such quiet vehicles can seriously impact both safety and the experience for people in the near surroundings, especially in urban environments. The Sonic Studio is currently researching how to design the external sound for future electric and hybrid cars.


Sound Design for Operator Interfaces

The field of sound design and multimodal solutions are getting increasingly important within industrial applications. Existing IT solutions such as the control and surveillance of industrial processes are by tradition mainly visual tasks. A constantly increasing and more complex information flow in these kinds of environments contribute to the risk that users will become more distracted and confused in critical situations.
By also using sound, one can design multimodal solutions that efficiently utilize human capabilities and thus contribute to a better working environment. Sound can be used to express many types of information, ranging from direction and distance to emotions and priority.

In this project we have studied alarm sounds in control room environments. With experience from areas such as game design, media production, and vehicle interface development we have been able take a whole new approach to methods within alarm sound design.
Poor alarm management and poorly designed alarm sounds are common problems in control rooms within the process industry. The purpose of an alarm is to alert the operators to deviations from normal conditions, and the goal is to prevent physical and economic loss through operators acting on conditions causing the alarms.

Key factors in operator effectiveness are the speed and accuracy with which the operator can identify the alarms. Consequently, this project aimed to develop a concept for alarm sounds which both informed about and guided operators to the production section involved. Sounds that conveyed urgency information and were accepted, perhaps even liked, by the operators.

A prerequisite for us to be able to investigate and develop our design ideas was a test bed. The local paper mill, Smurfit Kappa Kraftliner was well suited for our needs and through a highly user-driven process we developed an alarm sound concept consisting of in total seven production sections.

Each alarm sound consisted of two parts, one part conveying urgency information, and the other part conveying information that could be associated with the alarming section. In collaboration with the operators a variety of associative sounds were identified that could represent incidents in the process. 

An iconic water drop sound is representing an alarm in the washing unit where the used cooking liquors are separated from the cellulose fibers.

A breaking twig sound raises awareness of an alarm situation in the mechanical pulping process. For instance, there could be something stuck in the wood chipping section.

Chemical pulp production is the cooking of the wood raw material with chemicals. The sound of a steam kettle boiling informs the operators of an issue in this section. An alarm can for example be triggered due to tolerance limits deviations.

During the development process, the concept has been continuously evaluated. The evaluations were mainly conducted through questionnaires and focus groups. Results indicate increased operator effectiveness and a clearly improved working environment.

Sound design for indoor cycling

Most indoor cycling classes are coached with music. Often, the music chosen by the instructor is dance or rock music set to a dance beat. In this project we aimed at developing a new concept for indoor cycling, in which the music was replaced by a narrative sound design. The design consisted of rhythms and sound effects that aimed at recreating the sense of cycling in different kinds of environments. For instance, in one part of the class, the sound design built a soundscape where the participants could imagine they were cycling in the jungle being hunted by tigers.

Instruktör Camilla Lundberg

The concept was tested during an indoor cycling class at Korpen Piteå. After the class the participants were given a questionnaire to provide feedback about the concept. The results of the questionnaire showed that the participants generally liked the concept. Additionally, several participants commented on the concept’s great potential for further development.

If you’re an instructor and interested in trying the concept at your gym, please contact us.

Smart Cities and Games

Devices such as smartphones often demand the users’ full attention, the graphical user interfaces locks the users eyes and hands to the screen. In many situations this makes it difficult to use the device and it may even put the user in danger. A solution to the problem may be the new technologies available in the latest smartphones. GPS positioning, electronic compasses, accelerometers and directional audio holds the potential to design interfaces that put more of the users everyday abilities to play.

In our everyday lives we constantly use our ears to locate events, to take in emotions and meanings from others, to detect potential dangers, to analyse processes - the list can be made long. In the same natural way we use our arms and hands to interact with others and the world around us. We use them to indicate directions, to communicate intentions, to describe processes, to express emotions and much more.
It took evolution billions of years to develop these abilities and to make them the natural tools for interaction with the environment they are today. Slowly, technology is catching up. The interaction between humans and their machines does not have to be dictated by technological concerns anymore. Today we can design interfaces that work more on human terms than ever before.

We want to make it possible for people to put more of their everyday senses, needs, desires, emotions and skills to play when interacting with technology.
In the II City project we explore how the latest smartphones can be utilizied to design multimodal user interfaces that make this happen.



We design games that use sound to create innovative gaming experiences that change the way we interact with, and think about, gaming.

With iSpooks we have created a fully playable, audio game for the iPhone. DigiWall® combines climbing and gaming in a unique and challenging experience and is today available as a commercial product. In our mini-game, Beowulf, we use sound to push your emotional boundaries. Echo Range moves the gaming experience away from the screen, and out into the urban environment.


  • iSpooks - a fully developed, audio driven, experimental game for the iPhone.
  • Beowulf - a gaming experience that utilizes the players own imagination to create an intense, immersive experience.
  • DigiWall® - a climbing wall that redefines the gaming experience through full-body, physical interaction.
  • Echo Range - a game that uses the physical restrictions of the real world to enhance a classic virtual gameplay experience.
  • GRIEG (Gender Roles in Emerging Games) - a research project that aims at mapping out and exploring possible future game applications that in a better way than today fills the needs of girls.
Service Design

Service Design is the holistic process of aligning all different kinds or resources in the process of designing and developing high-quality services. At Interactive Institute Piteå we use service design methods in both design and research considering user centered applications- often with emphasis on how interactive sound can contribute to successful services.