Roberto Christen
Interaction Design
+46 73 803 91 93 / +1 347 414 8323

Description Inspiration Method Final Design

I built a sequencer that plugs into a computer and manipulates a sound loop using virtual instruments. I designed the physical device and the software that converts actions into audiovisual feedback. I built my project using the Arduino microcontroller platform. I wrote the software using a scripting language called Processing. Beyond the output, this project has been about improvisation – about deciding my progress in the moment, reacting quickly to the results of my own actions.

I made a visual manipulation tool in the fall of 2008 for the Experience Prototyping course taught here at UID. Building a device, writing the code, and observing people play with the final object were incredibly inspiring. During my time here, I have also become very interested in both sound and in a looser way of working that is not overly analytical. My degree project is a study of those themes.

Many designers use a more elaborate process than mine. Maybe they want to create more remnants of it to convince others about the validity of their decisions, or follow a formula so success is more probable. I respect that – selling ideas is tough. My process was dirty and unstructured. An idea can be convincing when shared with the appropriate audience and the fidelity is such that it can be experienced. I built a functional prototype for the degree show exhibition – that was my process.

The final functional prototype plays an 8 step loop. Each step in the loop plays a note at a pitch and volume that can be manipulated. That note can also be turned off and effects can be added. An old display draws a ring on its screen with qualities that map to the behaviour of sound. In this way, the relationship of sonic and visual response is explored. The liberty to experiment is at the core of being a designer, and where better can that be experienced than in school?

In collaboration with

A Curious Audiovisual Sequencer for Simple Humans