Object Mediated Interaction
François Ménès is a French student with a background in art and industrial design. He studied and worked in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands before joining RCA. His work focuses on creating new experiences around sound through objects but also distributed manufacturing, alternative means of production and low impact products. During his time at RCA, his projects involve digital tools like design through algorithms, integrated code and 3D printing. His final project, embodies all those components to create a product that creates an evolving connection with its user.
School of Design
Object Mediated Interaction
The crisis pushed me further into my design convictions and work process that had already strongly shifted during my studies. I had settled a small workshop with a 3D printer at my house when I arrived in London and it turned out to be more and more precious as the crisis went longer. My final project was entirely prepared and made at home and it greatly influenced the outcome, challenging my practice and my ideas. A lot of things had to be improvised and adapted but I believe it was a good opportunity to create something challenging.
Cases — All cases are made out of 3D printed PLA and allow a wide range of colours and finishes.
Screen — The sound is always represented on the screen to give an accurate preview of the what is happening.
Open — SID is meant to be very easy to disassemble and repair in case of problem or new functions to add.
Components — All the components used in SID are off the shelf products that can be found easily online.
Engravings — Engraved details give you a glimpse into the assigned functions of the knob when tweaking the sound.
Knobs animations : Notes — Notes are represented with colours and octaves are visualised with different blinking speeds.
Knobs animations : Shapes — Different types of sound waves animate the note colour through its adjacent shades in a similar manner.
Knobs animations : Filter — An open filter cycles through all the colour spectrum, when a closed filter, that only lets low frequencies go through, cycles through a colder colour range.
It can be very hard, even for those with a classical music background, to learn sound design, sampling, midi, etc. The choices are either a computer setup, that has unlimited potential, but is overwhelming in terms of learning, or hardware that is more expensive and while intuitive, still has a steep learning curve. These options do not encourage people to experiment much, and users often reach a limit to what they can explore and become stuck in their creative process.
This project uses a new musical language of colour coded interactions to communicate back to the user how components are behaving through visualisations, emphasising the connections between touch with the sound. These animations are based on a similar language: wave shapes illustrate the actual sounds coming out of the machine, colours define notes and tuning, brightness relates to loudness, and also different types of blinks, fades, saturated and desaturated colour, negative colour, and animations allow a lot of information to be visualised at once.
The device is based on an Arduino board, it can be hacked to expand its interface with other sensors, to be customisedand have more functions and ways to control it and open to a lot of creative possibilities. It can be used as a standalone device, but it is also meant to encourage people to combine its fun sound capabilities with other instruments and interfaces to control it or mix sounds.