Nobody rejects music. With music, people can draw, dance, and sing to enjoy groove creatively. However, it's not that easy for the beginner to create a piece. Therefore, we first decided to build a simplified composer for educating purposes. During research, we realized that most of the music programs are vision based, where people learn about music structure, tones and pitches by recognizing each note's location and appearance.
We started to wonder: How about those who have disability seeing/hearing as the majority of us?
Eventually, we all agreed on building an inclusive music device, where everyone can distinguish, compose and feel the music notes via an immersive experience. We believe that music education can be more visceralized with multimedia technologies.
What it does
Each music note matches with one vibration motor, which will stimulate one part of the body, and we have 7 notes built in this demo in total. The PANWO experience can be divided into three steps: a. Browse notes by triggering the PREV/NEXT button on the two sides of the box, and feel the vibration to build the connection between the somatosensory of a particular body area and a music note. b. Selected the notes for melody composition, feel the vibration again to reinforce the somatosensory connections with music notes. c. Play all the selected notes, which is the customized melody. This allows the user to sense the groove of a music piece with the body, not necessarily vision and auditory.
How we built it
To reach the goal of two-way communication between Arduino and Processing, we begin with one-way communication from controlling one vibrating motor with Processing. Then we soldered seven vibrating motor modules and three switches modules. After realizing the function of controlling all the motors according to the specific notes, we ran into the part of sending digital signals from external buttons to Processing. Finally, we realized the two-way communication and made the vibration of motors match corresponding notes and animations.
Challenges we ran into
The communication between programs and Ardunio chips is difficult. We suffered from hardware delays and port communication bugs.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We ideate, build, test, fix bugs and created two process video in less than 48 hours.
Firstly, PANWO is an inclusive design, non-vision users are included. Secondly, we realize the communication between software and hardware through processing and Arduino.
What we learned
Group work; Schedule control; Turn an idea into reality
What's next for Panwo
Hopefully, we can include more music elements into the program, and expand the diversity of outputs (other than vibration).
Next generation of PANWO will include a player database, the player can share their own music demo combine with comforting vibration and fancy visualization, others can download and enjoy. In addition, all inputs are from external buttons instead of the keyboard and more soundtracks and vibration spot will be added into PANWO so that more sophisticated music and different viberation composition can be made.