AR Music Kit is an interactive audio device created by London-based sound artist/designer Yuri Suzuki. It was developed in partnership with his YS Labs team and Google’s Data Arts Team.
AR Music Kit creates a unique ‘do it yourself’ musical experience which allows users to make music using just an app, print outs and everyday objects. Users print and cut out black and white square markers and stick these onto any objects they wish to create music with. Using a smartphone camera and the free mobile app, users capture themselves interacting with their setup. The camera senses when they ‘play’ a note/chord (by covering a marker with their hands) and the phone produces the corresponding sound. 3 modes are currently available: piano, guitar and music box.
It’s a very democratic and accessible interactive device as users don’t have to physically obtain or purchase it in order to enjoy it. Instead, it makes use of augmented reality sensors, paper print outs and a smartphone which are (relatively) easily available. The experience is also entirely customisable and can appeal to people of varying ages and musical ability.
The app is free and the software is available online on github in order to encourage developers, students or hobbyists to improve and further develop the project.
Aside from the great augmented reality musical experience, I really appreciate the spirit of openness and democracy of this device. It is simple, inclusive and enabling.
Other works by Yuri Suzuki: http://yurisuzuki.com/
Documentation for pan n’ tilt prototype. This setup allows the participant to control the movement and dispersal of sound in the room using the gyroscope. Each of the four corners of the gyroscope correspond to each of the four speakers in the room. The effect is immediate; for example, tilting the top right corner of the gyroscope downwards will increase the volume of the ‘front-right’ speaker (position when the participant faces the screen projection).
The accompanying graphics on the screen are a visual representation of the sound dispersal. The free-flowing polygon has 4 corners which correspond to the 4 speakers in each corner of the room. Tilting the gyroscope in one corner will alter the shape of the polygon and stretch it furthest in the same direction of the speaker. Conversely, keeping the gyroscope leveled will produce equal volume in all 4 speakers and the polygon will become a rectangle shape.
3D graphics and a more balanced sound increment (using the table object) could be applied for the next iteration of this prototype to enhance the experience.
Documentation for electronic musical instrument prototype. Created using max 7 and Teabox sensors. The Alternative Rainstick is a dual sound musical instrument which marries elements of a traditional rainstick and monophonic keyboard. It produces 2 different types of sounds, a base rain noise and an octave of notes. The pitch and type of sound can be easily controlled for both.
This rainstick uses the umbrella’s affordances in combination with 4 different sensors, namely the gyroscope, bending sensor, pressure sensor and slider.
The gyroscope controls the pitch of the rain sounds and is paired together with a swinging motion. The degree the umbrella is tilted corresponds to pitch i.e. tilting the umbrella downwards will produce a low pitch. The volume of the rain is controlled by the bending sensor and how open the umbrella is. A fully opened umbrella would produce a dense rain sound at full volume. Similarly, closing the umbrella will create softer rain sounds.
The umbrella’s ‘open’ button, attached with a pressure sensor acts as the universal ‘key’. Note sounds are only produced when the button is pressed. It functions similar to a piano key: the note is sustained by keeping the key pressed and stops when it is released. The variation between and forte and piano can be achieved by simply pressing the button lighter or harder.The slider controls the pitch and has a one octave range.
Documentation for Stationery Radio using Max 7, teabox and assorted sensors. An interactive stationery holder that allows easy control over your sound system while keeping desk supplies organised.
This player incorporates basic desk stationery and 4 different sensors into the interface. The eraser acts as a switch to start and stop the radio by playing with the light sensor. A ruler is used to changes between tracks. It triggers the bending sensor when it’s pushed into the ruler slot. The slider determines the duration and end point of each track. Volume is controlled using the infrared distance sensor and pencil holder slots. The 4 slots correspond to 4 increasing volume levels. Uses mainly buffer~ to control audio. A very engaging first project;