#AudioHack: vocoder via Facebook Messenger bot

This weekend, the Come & Play Audio Storytelling Hackathon in San Francisco brought together more than 50 artists, storytellers, producers, developers and designers to think up new and fun ways to tell stories with audio.

During our team's initial brainstorm session, we identified this user problem: how can we make anyone an audio creator?

In today's audio storytelling environment, there are creators and consumers. We hoped to challenge that divide.

A brainstorm Post-it note read: "Voices can be boring." We identified two elements of voice: the audio itself and the personality behind the voice. We agreed that in today's system, both can be boring.

Our six-person team built VoxAnon, a vocoder tool using a Facebook Messenger bot. The vocoder allows users to submit stories anonymously in response to prompts.

We were inspired by journalist Yusuf Omar, who used Snapchat's face filters to mask identities of sexual assault victims sharing their stories:

He handed them his phone and stepped away. The girls spoke individually to the camera and told their stories, without the intrusion of a reporter, cameraman and crew.

Another note read, "the world is more complicated than a story." In today's audio storytelling environment, creators tell other peoples' stories. We wondered: how can we give everyone (even those who want to remain anonymous) the opportunity to tell their own?

Logo and color palette for VoxAnon.

VoxAnon is a platform for submitting anonymous, optionally masked audio. Users contribute audio content via a Facebook Messenger bot and choose from a range of vocal filters to share their story anonymously or modify their voice for fun. Think decim8 for audio!

The VoxAnon website would store and categorize content – suggesting storytelling topics for users. But it's essentially an open platform like PostSecret.

Check out our pitch deck and see the repo on GitHub.

VoxAnon team members: Ted HanMiko LeeCyrus NematiRobert OchshornEmily Saltz and Maya Sugarman