Gesture Key
Technical Exploration - 2 weeks

A portable, wearable instrument that is played through gestures of the hand. By waving one’s hands in various placements over the board, a melody can be produced.

Use distance sensors to trigger a response. Define a user scenario that drives the form and functino of this cause-and-effect case.

Initial Interest:
Both my partner and I are on the same dance team at Brown University. As a result, we had an interest in how movement correlates to music. I personally had an interest in how one’s movements could ‘choreograph’ a song. Snigdha wished to explore how our design could teach people to dance. Based on this, we knew that we wished for the trigger to be movement and the response to be some kind of audio feedback.
What if the user could simply move their hands in a specific manner and that would create different notes - similar to a theramin? What if playing the ‘instrument’ was as beautiful as dance - like the art of playing the guzheng?

Based on our interests, we decided to explore tracking sensors and ways to play different tones on a piezo buzzer. As we only had access to two tracking sensors, we focused on creating melodies that required 3 notes.

In the process of developing the product itself. We pulled inspiration from castanets, drums, pianos, harps, and more in order to contextualize how this instrument would be ‘played’. We realized it worked most ergonomically as a lap/lower waist extension instrument. Additionally, rather than forcing the hand into a ‘pointer’ position - the hand could relax the most if it could stay in a natural position.

Designing Humanity Centered Robotics with Ian Gonsher - Fall 2019

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