Swing: Interactive Soundscape

As part of a one-week workshop in Collaborative Coding for Complex Interactions, we created a swing soundscape that gathered information from the other interactive modules as well as from the person swinging. Our aim was to simplify the complexity of the networked interactive modules into a peaceful experience.

Our swing module received 5 data inputs from another group’s module and then generated 5 data outputs to pass along to third module. The input data were processed into a piece of music with the data used to set tone, rhythm, and instruments. A pair of headphones hanging from the swing allowed the swinger to listen to the music. Their swinging motion was then captured on a kinect and processed into the 5 output data. The frequency of the swinging, the speed, and the hight were also added to the piece of music, giving the swinger a level of control over the music generated.

From the side, the motion of the swing looked like an infinite pendulum and created a peaceful installation. The cloth further highlighted the peaceful motion of swinging and provided the swinger with a meditative focus. The work aims to speak to all groups of people from younger ages to elders, and make them feel comfortable to interact.

This course explored large scale prototyping across multiple software and hardware platforms. We learned how to communicate across these platforms using the messaging system Noam. We also learned how to use three-dimensional data from a kinect, how to code music, and some of the basics of generated sound installations. If we were to refine this concept, we would simplify the music created and better map the volume level of the music to the trajectory of the swing, giving the swinger more control over the music. It would also have been interesting to test the module with many different ranges of input data and see the type of music created.