Designing The Soundscape Interactive Exhibit

Designing The Soundscape Interactive Exhibit

Creating a high engagement museum exhibit with the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery


The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery was looking to activate an old exhibit space into an engaging experience, so they turned to Alt Ethos to create a lighting instrument. The previous exhibit displayed a looped video about the music scene in Fort Collins with a set of couches for visitors to sit to watch the video. The exhibit was passive; they wanted an environment that captured visitors’ attention and pushed deeper engagement.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery


1.Create a unique instrument playable by multiple people at the same time.

2. Turn the space into an active experience that engages people of all ages.


Step 1: User Experience Research

The team began the journey with user experience research to better understand the community that enjoys the museum and the relationship between the vision of the organization, personas of the users, dynamics of the space, and interactions that connect people to the space and vision.

Step 2: Design

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Soundscape Design

Paul and Ethan take a meeting to learn about the museum’s needs.

The design phase highlighted that the tucked away location of the piece was a unique opportunity to engage “sweater holder” parents as well that don’t often interact with the exhibits choosing instead to watch their children and sit off to the side.

The ideal interaction time was approximated around five minutes to ensure adequate flow throughout the other exhibits. The team moved forward with wireless sensing technology located overhead in the room to maximize the life of the exhibit by basing the interaction dynamics off of the position of audience members in the space.

Step 3: Development and Testing

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Soundscape Execution

A child dances among the lights, activating new sounds in the space.

The development and testing of the exhibit occurred in a series of sprints. The major benefit of the sprints was iterative testing of the sound curation because in generative sound environments it can be easy to be swept into a cacophony of sound.

Tuning the parameters to limit key aspects of the sound design along with smoothing sensor data was a major breakthrough in the design that pushed the aesthetic of the installation.

Step 4: Implementation and Delivery

Alt Ethos installed the installation over the course of two weeks ensuring that any major physical changes to the environment took place on the Mondays when the museum was closed.

An essential factor in a smooth delivery was remote access to the computers allowing for the team to make changes and improve the software while not onsite. This allowed for a faster delivery time and for changes to take effect rapidly during the installation phase.

Step 5: Evaluation

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Soundscape Evaluation

What formerly was a passive exhibit is now an active space for all ages.

The use of wireless sensing technology also meant that as soon as a person enters the space, they became part of the musical composition. After the implementation and delivery, this dynamic was identified as a key variable in converting passive adults to active participants in the museum experience.

Doing so created an environment ripe for more connections to the space that involved the whole family thus driving more memberships, donations, and buy in from the adults in the local community.

Read more about the space that we use to create our installations.

Alt Ethos’ CEO Ethan Bach named Westword’s 100 Colorado Creatives 4.0

Alt Ethos’ CEO Ethan Bach named Westword’s 100 Colorado Creatives 4.0

“An entrepreneur with an eye on the future’s future, Ethan Bach and his crew specialize in experimentation with digital media and virtual reality — projected in domes, across walls and on interactive screens — in his search for the next big thing in visual technology. And as the guiding light at two startups — the media studio Alt Ethos Ltd. and Denver Arts + Technology Advancement, a nonprofit that provides residencies for new-media artists — Bach is interested in connecting with audiences through mind-blowing imagery and technological tricks of light. Catch him if you can, as he answers the 100CC questionnaire.”

We are honored that our CEO, Ethan Bach is recognized as Westword’s 100 Colorado Creatives 4.0. Bach moved to Denver three years ago to start our two organizations – Alt Ethos and Denver Arts + Technology Advancement (DATA). He built our teams through a collaborative structure and a vision for how humans can find a greater connection with each other through creative technology. Bach’s hope is to become more involved with urban planning design, public and private organizations, and leave his mark on Colorado by invigorating the creative economy through the DATA and Alt Ethos.

Ethan Bach DomeOur favorite highlights:
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?
Ethan Bach: My current creative muse is the vision of a humanity with a bright future. I am driven by the idea that humans are in a state of evolution. I participate in the exploration of human communication through using creative technology in ways that expand connection and consciousness.

 What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as a creative?
Ethan Bach: My current work — building two creative organizations, Alt Ethos and Denver Arts + Technology Advancement (DATA) — is my favorite accomplishment as a creative to date. These sister organizations were created on the same day, and both continue to grow and expand.

Kudos to our CEO who is responsible for holding the vision of the company, providing strategic leadership by working with the Members and other management to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans, and policies. He models our company’s culture, builds and leads the executive team, and drives the company to success.  Read more here.


The views, information, and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of Alt Ethos and its employee.

We reserve the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner we see fit blog entries or comments that we, in our sole discretion, deem to be obscene, offensive, defamatory, threatening, in violation of trademark, copyright or other laws, of an express commercial nature, or otherwise unacceptable.



Alt Ethos is honored to be recognized by 303 Magazine as Denver Artists to Watch 2018. We started this company to band together and create art infused with creative technology that is bigger and better than we could have achieved on our own. Together we create engaging environments by transforming physical spaces into shared interactive experiences that meld various forms of light and sound into creative technology. Our goal is to create moments that disrupt, engage, and inspire that help to elevate museums, public places, events, and others. Please see our write-up below.
You can read the entire article here

Light displays are no longer exclusive to live concerts—they are being used to create ambiance, mood and improve engagement to many other facets of social interaction. Alt Ethos is a talented group of artists and computer programmers who spend their time “cultivating memorable experiences that disrupt and inspire.” Ranging in age from early 20s to mid-40s, Ethan Bach, Zac Layman, Eric Davis, Paul Elsberg and Amy Lynn Herman each bring their own set of unique skills to the group. “We are trying to create things that are memorable,” Elsberg explained. “Why create things that are memorable? So they can help people find meaning, they can sneak back up on them. I think of really good conversations months or years later and it resonates with me in a new way. And I think that the desire to create art or technology, but really an experience, is the same. It’s about creating a disruptive moment that gets you out of yourself and comes back to you over and over.”

These experiences Alt Ethos designs and curates come in the form of virtual reality programs, projection mapping, digital dome projection and temporary light displays. Each one is particular to the experience Alt Ethos wants to amplify or draw attention to, which makes their style hard to pin down. Much of their energy this coming year will be focused on digital dome projection, where they are casting images or videos onto a half-sphere ceiling [through] the nonprofit that founding member Bach started called Denver Arts and Technology Advancement, or DATA.

The marriage of technology and art comes more easily to the members of Alt Ethos than it does to most. That’s their biggest obstacle at the moment— convincing people that technological art can be just as reliable as the computers we keep in our pockets every day. What puts them on the path to success is their desire to provide education to those who are skeptical or wary, as well as their eye-catching and engaging installations. Just in the first month of this year, Alt Ethos provided unique experiences at two separate parties— the Meow Wolf artist mixer and Moxie’s Dark Fairytale eventNext month they will represent Colorado at a small business showcase in Washington D.C. and as soon as they return they’ll be working (through DATA) on their annual international artist-in-residency program for digital dome projection.

Their largest project so far this year will culminate in November in old town Fort Collins,, where they will continually project images and light onto an exterior mural. The mural artist will work with Alt Ethos to envision a collaborative design in the hopes that Alt Ethos’ projections may illuminate the mural in an enriching manner as well as light it up at night when mural art is not appreciated as much. “We want this to be a one-of-a-kind experience for people,” Layman commented, “and the challenge of making it permanent is part of the joy of doing it.”




The views, information, and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of Alt Ethos and its employee.

We reserve the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner we see fit blog entries or comments that we, in our sole discretion, deem to be obscene, offensive, defamatory, threatening, in violation of trademark, copyright or other laws, of an express commercial nature, or otherwise unacceptable.

The New Frontier – FCMoD, Denver Startup Week and

The New Frontier – FCMoD, Denver Startup Week and

Alt Ethos News – Wednesday May 24th, 2017

We have a number of exciting updates to share; We’ve begun on site installation of our new Fort Collins experience, our CEO Ethan Bach and CSO Paul Elsberg have submitted two exciting topics for this year’s Denver Startup Week and Elsberg will be leading an ongoing Hackster.IO workshop. Let’s go into detail on each.

Fort Collin Museum of Discovery

We left off last in excited conceptualization of how this project would take place. Since then the test version of our Fort Collins installation has taken wings; We’re now ready to reveal the beta version of our newest creation: An interactive audio/visual exhibit which allows visitors to create music simply by walking into the space.

We achieve this with 4 Epson projectors, 6 Behringer speakers and 2 Kinect sensors mounted to the ceiling, 1 SkyLake 6700 Quad Core and 1 Lenovo ThinkCenter M715Q AMD Pro computer. The audio/visual elements are generated through a system utilizing TouchDesigner, Processing and Max/MSP. Processing both passes data to TouchDesigner 1. Through OSC and Max/MSP and 2. Video to Spout, an inter application video program.

Learning a new instrument can be difficult for a number of people. The aim of this exhibit is to provide an easier approach to musical creation, lowering the barrier to entry for visitors to participate. 

Based on our surveys we’ve observed a mix of behaviors among visitors of the space. Age, gender, family and group size, exhibit, etc. play a part in determining preference towards individual or group interaction, and desired amount of time spent interacting.

Our vision is to bring diverse groups of people together who may never meet, all within a whole new context of creativity. Our goal is to make it as easy and pleasurable for those familiar with music to enjoy it in a new way and create an easier approach for newcomers. Housed within the audio exhibits, we aim to provide a unique gathering point for visitors to interact with each other in a brand new way.

As you step inside the space waves of color glide across the floor, mirrored by traces of light dancing across the wall, beckoning you to enter. A red dot appears below your feet as you realize that your position is being tracked from above. Beats and tones are generated, waves feathering past you and into the distance. The wall ebbs and shifts to your movement on the floor. Speakers covers you with a song that is made of your movement. As more begin to follow inside, the space reacts as you create music in synchronization.

On Monday, May 22nd we began the on site installation at the museum. The first day entailed physical preparation of the space, placement of projectors and Kinects, and computer calibration. Today we plan to install the Behringer speakers all to create a truly immersive and interactive experience. We’re aiming for a soft public launch on June 9th.

We also announce Paul Elsberg as an instructor of a continuous Meetup sponsored by DATA and Alt Ethos. Hackster is an online community dedicated to learning hardware. By this they mean building analog systems which connect human action to digital reaction. In their own words:

Hackster helps people everywhere learn how to design, create and program Internet-connected hardware. By bringing together our network of close to 200,000 engineers, makers and hackers, 90 technology partners, and 100 Hackster Live ambassadors, we hope to support the creation of technologies that impact meaningful issues, such as a healthy environment, wildlife preservation, and our own welfare.

We are excited to play a part in giving new tools to future creators. You can sign up for Elsberg’s workshop here:

Both our CEO, Ethan Bach and CSE, Paul Elsberg have submitted talks for Denver Startup Week. Both are seeking votes for the opportunity to present these talks. Denver Startup Week is an open week celebrating and enhancing entrepreneurship beginning September 25th which we are proud to be a part of for our second year.

Building A New Paradigm with Collaborative Business Models

Creating a self-driving supportive organization that fosters leadership and personal evolution to achieve the highest success for the company is one of the drivers behind Bach’s joint venture organizations. Backed by over thirty years of experience in personal transformation, mentorship, and leadership, Bach sets out to create a new kind of company culture where the focus is as much on vision and inspiration as professional development and deliverables. Bach offers real-life strategies and solutions followed by an open dialogue driven by unanswered questions around creating a new paradigm in business. Vote for Bach’s talk here:

Designing with Art and Technology for Local Communities!

What if artful expressions of technology could strengthen our sense of community, bringing us together in local areas rather than fragmenting us further into our digital lives? To captivate with creative technology requires an understanding of the vision, context, users, and interactions that connect communities to spaces. At the forefront of emergent media, a panel of explorers will discuss how experiential design is essential to their creative process as a means to navigate an ever growing landscape of technological possibilities. Vote for Elsberg’s talk here:

Matt Maes is a Denver animator focused on immersive and interactive technology. He is Chief Influence Officer of Alt Ethos, Ltd and is also an executive member of the nonprofit organization Denver Arts and Technology Advancement (D.A.T.A.)