The Making of Zonkopia

Zonkopia started as an early expriment in HTML5 and javascript.

I was home in Iceland for the holidays in 2010. That meant  a 5 hour time zone difference from New York. I kept waking up in the middle of the night, at around 4am, due to my jetlag.

I also happened to be reading the book “4 hour body” by Tim Ferris. There is a chapter about sleeping remedies. I tried all of them including:

  1. Fill your bathtub with icewater, get in and cool your body. I was in Iceland  so I filled the bathtub with snow and ice water and got in... needless to say it didn’t work.  I shivered violently for an hour.
  2. Eat something fatty: I ate 6 eggs. It didn't work.
  3. Get a device called the NightWave, a blue oscillating nightlight. It was listed on Amazon for 54.99$. I figured I could replicate it in javascript in 5 minutes.... so I did... and it worked, I fell asleep.

The silly little javascript experiment came out well and I figured I would share it with other insomniacs around the world.

Zonkopia continued to be a testbed for fun weekend javascript projects, including the real-time “3D” stereo chime syntesis and WebGL based cloud animation.

Zonkopia has been left to gather dust for a few years, but the latest experiment was porting the site from to Webflow is pure javascript web editor that blows everything else I have used out of the water.


Synthesis of 3D Chimes

The chimes in Zonkopia are synthesized in real time in Javascript.

The chime synthesis was a second experiment with Javascript. At the time the Firefox audio API had just come out and there were very few audio demos online. I was blown away that it was possible to do synthesis of stereo audio at 44.1kHz with noise shots, resonators and binaural phase simulation, all in real time in Javasctipt.

Waves on Kleifarvatn

Kleifarvatn is a desolate lake in a small valley on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland.  The audio recording for "waves on a shore" was recorded by the shore of  Kleifarvatn.   It was recorded during that same insomniatic visit to Iceland in 2010 in the twilight of an artic winters day.

If you listen with good headphones, you may notice that it sounds like the lake is moving from side to side in the beginning. You may even get a little dizzy! This is because it is recorded using in-ear binaural microphones at 96kHz, 24bits on a H2 Zoom, which results in very good stereo imaging. To make the recording more soothing, it is played at half speed. This also amplifies the stereo effect.