During the Physical Computing and Creative Coding course at School of Form a team composed by Ernest Warzocha, Jakub Wilczewski, Maciej Zelaznowski worked on a project starting from the keyword “the aesthetics of interaction”. With the help of their lecturers – Wies?aw Bartkowski and Krzysztof Golinski – they decided to rethink about typical button-like interface of audio sequencer and design a unique tangible interface for it.
Instead of regular buttons we created wooden discs (4×8 circles) that placed in holes generate audio sequence. Each line corresponds to different instrument and columns are responsible for time when sample is played. To know in which point at timeline our sequence plays there is hidden LED on top of each column that blink through wood and informs user which one is currently played.
To create good-looking round shapes of table we used CNC router at our university. After the milling process we connected all electronics with table and sensors for each hole. The core of our project is Arduino UNO with multiplexers and MP3 module. With rendered samples and build-in speakers our project doesn’t require computer plugged in.
Important and somehow unique in our sequencer is usage of IR reflective sensors to change played instrument sample. To decide which sample we want to play sensor recognizes different grayscale color and intensity of the reflected light at bottom of our discs – actually everything placed on table can generate sound. Creating grayscale-based controller is experimental way to interact with device. Furthermore, using grayscale palette might be great idea for MIDI instrument. For this project we used two colors to show the concept. It’s possible to add more but it’s more sensitive to non-constant background light.
Take a look at the video below and explore more pictures on Behance: