AudioCubes: a Distributed Cube Tangible Interface based on Interaction Range for Sound Design


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AudioCubes is a novel tangible user interface allowing any person interested by sound design such as sound creators, and music trainers to intuitively explore and create dynamically changing sound. A new sound is created by manipulating distributed cube tangible user interface that can be coupled wirelessly by locating them in the interaction range of each other on a table. At any time, a sound processing network combines operational properties of AudioCubes, such as location on a plane or in space, movement, arrangement with other cubes, and layout. Sound algorithm parameters and the configuration of the sound processing network can be changed simultaneously, allowing a fast and convenient exploration of sound creation space that creates a new interaction technique for creating sounds.

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AudioCubes: a Distributed Cube Tangible Interface based on Interaction Range for Sound Design

  1. 1. AudioCubes: a Distributed Cube Tangible Interface based on Interaction Range for Sound Design Bert Schiettecatte 1,2 , Jean Vanderdonckt 2 1 Percussa Inc., Mere (Belgium), 2 Belgian Lab. of Computer-Human Interaction (BCHI), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) [email_address]
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Motivations </li></ul><ul><li>What are AudioCubes? </li></ul><ul><li>Ways to use AudioCubes </li></ul><ul><li>Example Configurations </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction range of AudioCubes </li></ul><ul><li>Related Work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AudioCubes Design Process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AudioCubes Evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AudioCubes Users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AudioCubes Availability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AudioCubes </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Motivations <ul><li>Accessability of professional music and sound tools today </li></ul>U-Control 33e Malstrom synthesizer in Propellerheads Reason Laptop artist Kim Cascone performing Focus on technology and control instead of music or sound ... <ul><ul><li>Personal experience with ... </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What are AudioCubes? <ul><li>Small, wireless, battery powered portable computers which : </li></ul><ul><li>Detect each other's location and orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Sense other real-world objects </li></ul><ul><li>Work with each other and without infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Generate and process sound </li></ul><ul><li>Each cube has : </li></ul><ul><li>USB connector for data exchange and battery charging </li></ul><ul><li>4 faces with IR sensors and emitters </li></ul><ul><li>Full colour light source </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ways to use AudioCubes <ul><li>Each cube generates sound and sends out to other cubes nearby </li></ul><ul><li>One or more cubes connected to speaker make sound audible </li></ul><ul><li>Computer needed to set behaviour of cubes initially </li></ul>Without a computer (i.e. Sound generator)‏ <ul><li>Cubes detect each other and nearby objects, send info to computer </li></ul><ul><li>Information from detection is used to interact with software </li></ul><ul><li>Computer needed to set behaviour of cubes initially </li></ul>With a computer (i.e. Human Computer Interface)‏
  6. 6. Example configurations <ul><li>One vs many inputs, one vs. many outputs </li></ul>Cubes used as sound generator – location and orientation changes parameters AND global behaviour
  7. 7. Interaction range of AudioCubes <ul><li>Regulated by angle (φ), minimum range (r min =0.5 cm), and maximum range (r max =50 cm) </li></ul><ul><li>Coupling two AudioCubes </li></ul>s 1 s 2 φ 1 φ 2 r 1min r 1max r 2min r 2max
  8. 8. Related work Audiopad by Patten & Recht (MIT Media Lab) Blockjam by Newton-Dunn et al (Sony CSL IL)‏ AudioCubes is different from related work in that : <ul><li>The system is self contained and intelligent </li></ul><ul><li>No infrastructure necessary </li></ul>
  9. 9. AudioCubes Design Process <ul><li>Techniques used </li></ul><ul><li>Paper prototyping </li></ul><ul><li>Hand soldering, glueing </li></ul><ul><li>Various rapid prototyping techniques, laser cutting </li></ul>AudioCube second rev. Mechanical design Paper prototype AudioCube first platform with external signal processing AudioCube second platform with built in DSP AudioCube third platform wtih built in DSP
  10. 10. AudioCubes Evaluation User observation camera and cube table with amplification at the MUHKA museum Audiocubes connect to table amplifier through audio cables Table and camera setup diagram Standard cube configuration for the art installation Cubes generate sound and send to each other, 2 cubes connected to speakers Let's put the cubes in a museum and let people make sound with them, without computers ... camera amplifier inputs 1 2 3 4 5 6 Micro- phone input Audio Output jack
  11. 11. AudioCubes Evaluation 4 hours of observation video <ul><li>Among the goals : </li></ul><ul><li>Observe human-machine interaction not anticipated </li></ul><ul><li>Determine if visitors could understand and learn system </li></ul><ul><li>Is our system more accessible than other classic technology for making electronic music and sound? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Conclusion AudioCubes used as sound generator : <ul><li>Parameters and behaviour change at the same time </li></ul>AudioCubes used as computer interface : <ul><li>Cube sense each other's location and orientation but also distance to other objects </li></ul><ul><li>Cubes can be easily configured in many ways for different applications </li></ul><ul><li>Lets people explore and be creative with technology, without imposing “control” too much </li></ul><ul><li>Gives room to “happy accidents” </li></ul>In both cases :
  13. 13. AudioCubes users in Education <ul><li>Berklee College of Music (USA)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>KnowledgeXtensions, Inc (USA)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Watch That Sound (Netherlands)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Pantalone (Belgium)‏ </li></ul>AudioCubes users in Research <ul><li>Saint Mary's University (Canada)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>University of Southern Denmark (Denmark)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>University of Western Sydney (Australia)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>V2 (Netherlands)‏ </li></ul>Past AudioCube workshops <ul><li>V2, Rotterdam </li></ul><ul><li>Vancouver New Music & Video In/Out, Vancouver </li></ul><ul><li>Vooruit, Ghent </li></ul>
  14. 14. Thank you very much for your attention! PERCUSSA Belgian Lab. of Computer-Human Interaction European excellence network on Multimodal User Interfaces