Introduction: Unwrapped: Kommunikations-Gully

Picture of Unwrapped: Kommunikations-Gully

Connect (at least two) duct-covers acoustically to bulid a communication system within the city.

A «unwrapped - Aktivierung städtischer Objekte» project:
Watch the movie:

Concept developed in the «unwrapped» seminar in Graz:
Concept realised by the unwrapped team:

Step 1: Material

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a walkie-talkie

Step 2: Material

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a headset with a baby microphone

Step 3: Material

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active loudspeakers

Step 4: Material

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a wooden box, a flexible plastic, aluminium tape, glue, screws, orange spray

Step 5: Material

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a bag

Step 6: Material

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street tape

Step 7: Construction

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wooden box:
- wooden box: 10 x 21 x 5 cm
- 1 hole for the microphone
- 2 little holes for the cables
- 4 small screws on the box (construction to fix later the plastic)
- 1 big screw (later for the electric contact)
- 4 holes on the side (to fix it later on the duct cover)

Step 8: Construction

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- tape (to fix the elastics)
- elasitcs (for the walkie-talkie

Step 9: Construction

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- microphone into the big hole
- each part of the headset switch into one small hole

Step 10: Construction

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- stick the aluminium tape on the flexible plastic
- one headset switch cable is connected to the aluminium tape
- one headset switch cable is connected to the big screw

Step 11: Construction

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- connect the head-set cable on the walkie-talkie
- fix the walkie-talkie with the elasitcs
- fix the cables with the elastics

- this antenna in not necessary

Step 12: Construction

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et voilà

Step 13: Installation

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open a duct-cover

Step 14: Installation

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- put the active loudspeaker into the bag

Step 15: Installation

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- fix the bag with cable ties on the duct-cover

Step 16: Installation

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- fix the woode box with cable ties on the duct cover

Step 17: Installation

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- stick the street tape around the duct cover

Step 18: Installation

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- and let people interact


Maxaxle88 (author)2007-06-11

1. It's weird and useless 2. IT RUNS OUT OF BATTERIES!

graymalkn (author)Maxaxle882007-07-20

1. You say that like it's a bad thing. 2. Eventually, sure. It might be possible to rig a solar collector to it, if the cover has enough openings.

william20 (author)graymalkn2012-02-28

It doesn't even have to have many openings you could put the solar panels on top of the man hole cover and feed the wires down one of the slots :)

tristantech (author)Maxaxle882010-01-10

Runs out of batteries?

You should make it power itself from the methane gas in the pipes!!

nutsandbolts_64 (author)2010-05-15

 Somehow, I can't understand what this thing actually does. What does it do? 

it lets random people who find the grate talk to other random people at the other grate.

oh lol. Thank you for answering a 1-year old question!

scraptopower (author)2011-07-01

This is a great concept :)

marc92 (author)2007-04-30

don't try this in Boston because they will think that you are a terrorist and be all paranoid about everything and you will get arrested.

conceptualstratagem (author)2007-09-15

Nice work, I like the concept behind this savvy art project. This idea to use negative space as a social conduit, interests me. All of the problems mentioned in this critique (so far) are mere technical issues that only take money and permits to get around.

toogood (author)2007-07-08


true_geek (author)2007-04-29


James (pseudo-geek) (author)2007-04-24

BTW your duct tape thing is actually a RF symbol, not a sound symbol. I dont know what you intended it to be lol.

James (pseudo-geek) (author)2007-04-24


Scozza (author)2007-03-17

A very cool concept, nice work, Scozza

randofo (author)2006-09-21

I also really like this. However... The problem, technically speaking, is that in most major American cities you wouldn't be able to put a pair of cheap walkie talkies very far apart before losing reception. Not to mention that if you were to leave it overnight, chances are that it would be gone in the morning. If some enterprising soul didn't take it and sell it, some poor vigilant fool would see a suspicious box on a manhole cover and call in the bomb squad (in New York especially). Or should neither of those happen, considering manhole covers are usually on the street, someone is just going to run over the box with their car. And of course, powering a pair of loudspeakers would require a massive amount of battery power and not last more than a couple of hours anyway. All of these factors make it quite hard to put something on the street. But I really appreciate the effort when someone tries and I really like the audio markings.

Andrew546 (author)randofo2007-01-30

"powering a pair of loudspeakers would require a massive amount of battery power and not last more than a couple of hours anyway."

Randofo, I'm surprised you didn't mention your Camouflaged Power-Source LiberatorCamouflaged Power-Source Liberator, this would be the perfect solution for this problem!

As far as location is concerned, from what i understand, location is irrelevant, as long as its publicly accessible. So this, combined with your project, could be put on or near an outlet, where its much less likely to be damaged, and I'm sure someone could come up with a way to secure it, even if it meant chaining it to a pole.

I'm sure that it wouldn't be too hard to make a better antenna or something to extend the range.

5Volt (author)2007-01-16

I like the concept of people interacting via unusual urban vias.

Also: in the main picture the subject turned his back to a Fiat 500L (in a pretty good shape, apparently). Shame on him !
Ciao e complimenti.

FrenchBelly29 (author)2006-11-01

i dont really understand what its about because its not in english but it looks intresting and i wish i could understand it because it looks kool.

unwrapped (author)FrenchBelly292006-12-10

Thank you!
Unfortunately, the website isn't in English neither. This duct-project was developed within my diploma project (German). I have a short description about it on .

But shortly:
Start using existing city objects and combine them instead of producing all the time new products. The aim was to make people aware for their own spatial environment (every day life), the objects and a topic. In this case: the physical connection within the city.

jongscx (author)2006-12-10

I'm a bit on the confuzzleated side (confused). Is the walkie-talkie A) basically just an audio-amp/bridge between the microphone and the speaker and it's the sound that travels through the sewer system? OR B) transmitting to another one of these boxes somewhere else in the city?

unwrapped (author)jongscx2006-12-10

It's B. So we connected three ducts by walki talkies. But people didn't know. So the basic Idea was, that they think they talk over this existing, physical network underground.
This is a project that was developed under my diploma projcet "unwrapped". It was about researching the city and discover city objects as interfaces. (unfortunately just in German)

datelus (author)2006-11-30

uuber original- great job. my compliments! :)

unwrapped (author)2006-10-13

The movie I posted is a prototype to show the idea - so that means it's not the final technical solution. Of course randofo is right with his/her inputs. But whar viron wrote is the idea behind it: Start using existing city objects and combine them instead of producing all the time new products. The aim was to make people aware for their own spatial environment (every day life), the objects and a topic. In this case: the physical connection within the city.

zachninme (author)2006-09-04

I like the idea! However, I don't think people would understand how to use it... And what about the rain?

unwrapped (author)zachninme2006-10-13

Sorry for the delay. Of course this version doesn't work in case of raining. But it's just a prototype for an idea - that means it's not the best or final technical solution...

VIRON (author)2006-09-26

A duct is already large and immobile (unstealable), and already has this communication potential, so the only problem is merely enhancing the effect using something that is not obviously useful.

DanAdamKOF (author)2006-08-27

This is cool! Is this intended to be a social experiment, just for fun, or do you have a different goal in mind?

unwrapped (author)DanAdamKOF2006-08-28

In my diploma project "unwrapped - activation of city objects" we researched, how city objects can be used as communication or interaction channels. The concept idea is, that you take a city object, combine it with technology (high or low tec) to make people aware about a social topic (that ist connected to the object) and the object itself. In this case: the physical network within the city. A similiar concept we did is called MeetingPoint: (watch the video). Not all project achieved to combine this two ideas, but there are very nice works. Unfortunately, the website is in German. But have a look and if you have some question, write me...

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