Show and tell

Today we had our presentation on the fourth and final course module, and we have seen very interesting concepts.

When it comes to our work, people seemed to like it , they found it interesting – it was a big plus that no wires could be seen, so they thought it was very well assembled. Their feedbacks made us feel proud, after so much struggle with building the prototype and connecting with Ableton. Our teacher also liked the fact that we used the photocell sensors in two different spots  in the brush, because they could collect unequal data. Furthermore, he commented on the design tightness – the hairbrush felt tight not only in terms of immediateness – you use the brush and get an output – but also in terms of closeness, i.e. the closer it gets to the hair, the more intense  the sound gets; and modality , i.e. the sound will change depending on how you brush your hair.

This finding was actually very interesting for us because we used the same type of sensors and still we got differential results – before implementing them, we did not think about an important variable – angle. As the angle varies along and across the brush, you will get uneven distribution of light.

Summarising, we received a very good feedback and all the struggle we had to conceptualise and execute the design was worth it.

When it comes to other groups, there were also some interesting design concepts. My favourite one was developed by Marcus and Emil – a paintbrush that sounds differently depending on how you stroke – they played with bass and treble. Something remarkable about this group is that their design was based on research – before they started sketching the design, they read a lot about how paintbrush can be used.

The research part we have sort of skipped, and now in hindsight, we could have gone deeper with our design. I suppose it was the time constraint that made us go straight to brainstorming and sketching.

Many of the other groups used light sensors as well, in different ways – which made me ponder – how incredible and versatile a light sensor can be, and yet so simple!

Concerning our own presentation, i.e. the show ‘n’ tell session, I was rather satisfied – we managed to describe what we have done, why and how, and explained the concept  in terms of ambiguity, tightness and openness. We have also brought up technical issues.

This module was very challenging – we were newbies when it comes to Ableton, we struggled a lot with playing with sound, and sketching something that works – technical and aesthetically and that is interesting at the same time – how to make something trivial , unremarkable into something more exciting?

But in the end of the day, every minute of frustration  was worth- we learnt a lot, not only how to use Ableton and avoid short circuits, but also how a ideating, conceptualisation, sketching process works. Additionally we succeeded in turning something dull, boring into something interesting.

 

 

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Sketching

Today we had lecture about sketching, not necessarily through drawing but even through bodystorming. We are supposed to sketch our design first, so we know what elements are important and interesting to be used in the design.

Today we hooked up two photocell sensors to Arduino, and through Ableton we were able to play two different sound files, depending on which sensor receives light/shade.

We were not absolutely sure about our concept, it did not seem to be much room for ideation since the design is around a hairbrush. But the teacher has shown to us that yes, there is room for ideation – the focus is on the design’s behavior, not on the material itself, important here is how it is used, and what happens. Now we feel better about our concept because we know we are on the right path.

Here is us testing the photocell sensors with Ableton.

Ableton meets Arduino

Hi there!

Today we started the day with theory, about interaction qualities such as tightness, openness and ambiguity, based on Henrik Larsens dissertation. We also had an exercise in groups of four and the assignment was to compare two designs in terms of the aforementioned qualities.

After that we started working with Ableton and Arduino under Lars instructions. We got to test a project set uploaded on Itslearning. We used a potentiometer as analogue sensor – it is a knob from one to three, and you can assign this knob a parameter connected to a sound file – frequency, track volume, track spanning etc.  My partner and I focused on track volume but we even tested other parameters.

Check it out

We were also advised to switch from flex sensor to photosensors , that is, a type of resistor that reacts to light. So the idea is if you approach the brush to your hair it will get dark and you will get an output. If you stop brushing your hair, it will get lighter and you receive another output.

Tomorrow we will try to hook up photosensors and see if we can create something cool with Ableton.

We want to achieve a high tightness – an action will lead to immediate feedback. It would be nice as well to create ambiguity in terms of information – the design will change its behaviour after a period of time, for instance.