SoundJam 2018 was held on 4th December as a workshop of the Fifth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, in Atlanta, Georgia.

It was designed to offer participants an opportunity to explore different kinds of auditory enrichment for a range of animals in different environments.

Teams of participants worked together on a small set of briefs provided by domain experts, brainstorming ideas and developing concepts into well-designed blueprints for prototype devices. We investigated briefs for parrots, elephants, chimpanzees and servals.

The day was organized along the lines of a traditional gamejam, with a physical model of the enrichment as a final output. Please follow links on the right to see the challenges set and the ideas that followed.






Aims and Activities

Reinhard Gupfinger with acoustic toy for grey parrot

The workshop aims to:                                                                                

Fiona French and Valerie Hare will be running the workshop together, with remote support from colleagues in Europe. We plan to undertake the following activities during the event:


Organising committee

Fiona French is a senior lecturer in the School of Computing and Digital Media at London Metropolitan University. She is course leader for BSc Computer Games Programming. She is currently investigating the design of playful interactive systems for elephants, as part of a PhD in the Animal-Computer Interaction Lab at The Open University.

Valerie J. Hare co-founded The Shape of Enrichment, Inc. with Karen Worley in 1991 and has been a principal ever since. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Workshop Coordinator. Since 2000, Valerie has instructed over 80 Enrichment Workshops around the world; she has worked as a Research Animal Care Supervisor (Massachusetts General Hospital), Zoo Keeper (San Diego Wild Animal Park), Behavioral Research Technician (San Diego Zoo), and Enrichment Consultant. Valerie has served on the International Conference on Environmental Enrichment Committee since 1997 and was a founding Director of the Bear Care Group, serving on the Board from 2007-2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology (Zoology emphasis) from San Diego State University and an Associate Degree as a Veterinary Technician from State University of New York-Delhi.

Reinhard Gupfinger is a university assistant and PhD candidate researcher at the Tangible Music Lab at the University for Art and Design Linz, Austria. He is undertaking a study in the context of Animal Computer Interaction (ACI) by designing musical instruments for grey parrots. Photo shows Reinhard holding acoustic toy for grey parrot.

Paul Kendrick is an acoustic engineer, with a research focus in AI (machine audition). He has been researching how to use acoustic signals to better understand animals and the environment, focusing in particular on analysis of soundscapes to assess biodiversity.

If you have any questions, please contact Fiona (




  • Patel, A.; Iversen, J.; Bregman, M.; Schulz, I. Experimental Evidence for Synchronization to a Musical Beat in a Nonhuman Animal. Curr. Biol. 2009, 19, 827–830.
  • Schachner, A.; Brady, T.; Pepperberg, I.; Hauser, M. Spontaneous motor entrainment to music in multiple vocal mimicking species. Curr. Biol. 2009, 19, 831–866.
  • Reinhard Gupfinger and Martin Kaltenbrunner. 2018. Animals make music: A look at non-human musical expression
  • Fiona French, Sofya Baskin, Billy Wallace, Adrian David Cheok, Anna Zamanzky, and Eleonora Nannoni. 2017. FarmJam 2017: Designing Enrichment for Farm Animals. In Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI2017). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 21, 6 pages. DOI:
  • Fiona French, Mark Kingston-Jones, David T. Schaller, Sarah Ellen Webber, Heli Väätäjä, and Mark Campbell. 2016. Don't cut to the chase: hunting experiences for zoo animals and visitors. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 19, 6 pages. DOI:
  • The Shape of Enrichment, Inc.

Workshop proposal

Birdsong meter assessing activity at Mersey Gateway
and annotated soundscape (Paul Kendrick)


Call for Participation

Valli tests rope (Fiona French)

This workshop aims to bring together expertise from different disciplines, enabling participants to network and move towards designing and developing exciting new auditory enrichment experiences for a range of animals.

The structure will follow the format of previous years’ ZooJam and FarmJam workshops, which generated a broad range of innovative enrichment concepts in a relatively short time period. The gamejam format shapes the design process by offering both accelerated and constrained design (Kultima 2015 ; Olesen 2017) with different rewards for different participants – some focused on outcomes, others on creativity, some on having learning opportunities, others on networking and finding potential research collaborators. To facilitate this, the workshop outputs will be shared publicly.

We invite participants from a wide range of communities, including but not limited to game design, computer science, engineering, education, HCI and ACI, acoustic engineering, animal behaviour and environmental enrichment. This is an opportunity for those with an interest in animal welfare to share ideas and explore the potential of using acoustic technology to enhance enrichment.

We would like prospective participants to register via the ACI2018 conference website.

If you have any questions, please contact Fiona French:



Jacob Logas, Larry Freil, Mike Szakaly, Shogo Yamashita, Kayla Eicholtz, Val Hare, Fiona French


Kayla working on serval design


Jacob working on serval design


Mike working on chimpanzee design


Shogo working on parrot design


Larry working on parrot design


Val, Jacob and Mike discuss elephants

Links to briefs and concept development for PARROTS, SERVALS, ELEPHANTS, CHIMPANZEES.



Prototype chimp audio device