Project: Music Interface (AV Instrument Building)

Team: Kevin Bartushak, Justin Drum, Tammy Le

Tagline: Promoting personal interaction in an audio-visual space.

Problem: Design students in NC State’s ADN 460 course have developed an AV Instrument called
Elemental in which users’ motions are tracked and influence visual and audio responses in a
designated space. They have created four different themes (earth, water, fire, air) for the
AV Instrument. Without an external interface, Elemental’s themes and user settings can only be
altered by the computer on which it is running. In order to make Elemental more engaging for users,
we developed a mobile application which allows individual users to customize their blob color and
switch between the available themes.

How the app works: Using a tile-based layout, similar to Windows, we created a simple visual
interface for users of the space to interact in a more personal way. Our app is intended to be mounted
next to the visual display, allowing users of the space to change the parameters of the experience.
Currently, users can change the overall theme of the visual display, or they can change the individual
colors of each person. As users leave and enter the space, tiles are created and destroyed to
represent the number of current users. Tapping a tile reveals a dropdown panel with settings
corresponding to that tile.

Our design of the app heavily coincides with the visual goal of the design team, choosing to use visual
indicators over text menus. Because of this, there is no text in our app, only tiles and icons. We aimed
to create a visual interface that was clear in purpose and usable, but promoted curiosity and
interaction from the user. We believe that the colors and icons successfully accomplished this goal,
bringing an intuitive and visually-appealing experience to the users.

Unfinished and future work: When we initially designed the app, we planned to incorporate settings
for multiple aspects of Elemental, including the following: audio and visual settings for an individual
user, and the overall theme. We were unable to accomplish the audio settings due to unexpected
side tasks from the design team. These include being asked to help the design students with their
own code, explore Game of Life implementations, and connect Processing and React Native with
OSC. Additionally, because the design students frequently changed their vision for Elemental, many of
our initial design and functionality ideas had to evolve or change with theirs. We think the addition of
simple toggles would be useful for changing audio aspects such as volume and pitch, allowing users
to change their audio experience in addition to the visual experience. Now that we have established a
channel for communicating between our app and the other environments, these additions would be
simple to add in the future.

Link to Github repo here.

Link to Video here.