Week #5

Midterm WIP

Midterm team: Matthew Lau & I.

Started prototyping our idea and figuring out how it'll work both technically and experientially. We've encountered a few technical issues though...

we can only play up to three tones at a time with the Arduino Uno (with the Arduino Nano 33 IoT it would've been just one!), so working around that we decided on using a pentatonic scale with ~7 tones, out of which up to three can be layered simultaneously.

The conductive strings are meant to act as a tempo regulator, in such a way that the more they are stretched the slower the rhythm of that specific tone is. However the strings themselves are quite sensitive and noisy, and while we're not trying to create something entirely harmonic in terms of the sound itself, we still need to figure out how to make the interaction with it smoother so it's actually fun to engage with.

The sensors we're using (hall sensors) seem to be quite finicky as well. They're only responding to the magnets when they're positioned at a certain angle — something we're definitely not expecting people to do when they play with it. So we're trying to figure out how to position and fabricate the "knobs" so that they will always be positioned correctly and with ease. We intend to put steel washers around the holes (but underneath) so it'll attract the knobs to the right position (they will not trigger the sensors though as they are not magnetic themselves but do attract magnets).

We also tried to model what the final piece might look like — it'll be a wooden board with wooden anchors and embedded magnets, with the hall sensors peeking through small holes. There will be six knobs that will be divided into three pairs that will be connected by the inductive string. We're still considering turning this into only three knobs so that each string will be completely anchored at one end but we're going to test how it'll feel and decide accordingly.

We're still not sure if we want to go with an abstract aesthetic or maybe go with the Halloween theme that was suggested and make knobs that look like spiders, and maybe a spider web instead of an amorphic shape. I guess we'll see 🙃

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Jasmine Nackash is a multidisciplinary designer and developer intereseted in creating unique and innovative experiences.