RHYME member Birgitta Cappelen was invited to speak on this year’s ArcInTex conference in Gothenburg. The title of her lecture was “Designing Component Based Smart Textile” and concerned the ongoing work with developing textile solutions for 4th Generation of Co-creative Tangibles, named Polly. The idea is to combine perspectives from the Textile and Computational traditions into a new concept of Smart Textile. From the Textile tradition we have modular thinking in Patchwork were we reuse used materials into creating new artefacts. In our Folk Costume tradition we also have modular parts like the belt and chest part (in Norwegian “bringeduk“) which can be added, inherited and used in another costume. Development in Carpet Tile Industry, from being a material to a service provider, is also an important inspiration. In the Computational tradition we have the tradition of modularity and components in both hardware components and in different forms of Component based software architecture. In developing RHYME Co-creative tangibles, Polly, we use both these lines of thoughts to structure the Smart Textile vertically and horizontally. Horizontally as different surface areas of sensors and sensorially stimulating surfaces. Vertically as layers, from the textile surface and shape, via hardware components, different functions and services to the data protocols (USB, Twitter, TCP/IP ).
The RHYME development team are currently working on creating the music for the 4th generation of RHYME Co-creative Tangibles. The goal is to meet the demands from the users, music therapists and focus groups, to choose the music of their own liking (self-regulation). We edit and de-compose a linear tune into musically significant elements. Elements that the users can re-compose, based on advanced musical rules into a continuous musical experience, by interacting together. The different users, both at home and on a distance, can interact and co-create the music together. The co-creation can be achieved in many ways: through physical interaction in the Co-creative Tangibles; through a graphical iPad interface; or through writing compositions in a high level musical Twitter language on the mobile phone.
The 4th generation Co-creative Tangibles, named Polly, will offer the users a broad range of musical styles from beat-based popular music, children songs, classical music to more contemporary musical experiences.
On November 9th the RHYME member Anders-Petter Andersson was invited to give a keynote lecture at the 3rd Music for All Conference in Helsinki. His lecture was called “Why Electronic Music Technologies Collect Dust, People Get Angry with Fury Robot Seals and a Possible Solution”. The conference was given in collaboration between the Resonaari Special Music Centre, the Universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä.
Currently we are working intensively with the development of the 4th generation of Co-creative Tangibles. The 4th generation of Co-creative Tangibles are in the project plan defined as “distributed and social media”. In the RHYME project this means that the users can co-create across different media, space and time. For instance that a sibling can interact through a smartphone or tablet from another place, with her sister or brother and the Co-creative Tangibles at home.
In the 4th generation we try to accomplish, develop and realize as many of the ideas, suggestions and wishes as possible, that we have received from the users, care persons, families and experts from several fields throughout the whole project. These many ideas, suggestions and wishes have been articulated through participation in the many workshops, tests, interviews, discussions and observations during the whole RHYME project.
Some of the users’ wishes, such as dynamic microphone input to the music together with different forms of sensorial stimulating input sensors in a mobile interactive thing, has been a major technological challenge. These user wishes have compelled us to develop six different hardware platforms throughout the project, which was not something we planned to do, but had to do because of its importance for the users and music therapists.
Including direct light response and projection in the tangible objects has also been an important user demand that has been a great design challenge. We try to include and prioritize as many user wishes as possible into a new 4th generation of distributed and social co-creative tangibles with new shapes, structures, surfaces, hardware, software, music, set design, positive experiences and mastery levels, personalization and interaction forms. Here are some pictures from the ongoing development process:
During the 9th European Music Therapy Congress in Oslo, RHYME was presented in several ways. RHYME member Even Ruud, Karette Stensæth and Anders-Petter Andersson contributed to the conference. Even Ruud started the conference with the keynote “Music – A cultural Immunogen”. On Thursday 8th August Anders-Petter Andersson presented his and Birgitta Cappelen’s paper Vocal and Tangible Technology for Music and Health and Karette Stensæth was chair and released her paper “Musical co-creation’? Exploring health-promoting potentials on the use of musical and interactive tangibles for families with children with disabilities published in International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being.
Yesterday NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), both radio and television came and made interviews with parents contributing as users and research persons in the project and RHYME’s design team. Today at 8.04 am. the radio reportage was sent on NRK P2 Kulturnytt.
The RHYME project was presented in a inspiring article under the title “Music furnitures helps children with special needs” at the norwegian research news site forskning.no. In the article both parent Inga Bostad and RHYME project member Birgitta Cappelen was interviewed. Inga Bostad experience that her daughter has become more curious and willing to explore new things after participating in the RHYME project. Read the article (in norwegian) here.
During the RHYME project so far we have developed a number of hardware platforms. This has been necessary because existing platforms (smartphone, Arduino e.g.) do not directly offer the functionality and combinations we need, regarding diverse sensors and actuators such as light and speakers. It has been a huge challenge to create the hardware we wanted and needed to offer the best possibilities for our users. We have put a lot of time and effort into it, much more than we originally planned, because the current mobile technology still have major weaknesses . The main challenges we have been working on are:
- real time sound synthesis with low enough latency (response time) for musical interaction.
- sufficient sound quality in terms of loudness, frequency range,
and noise floor in mobile wireless objects.
- battery, both how it is charged, used and integrated as well as how long it lasts.
- combining input from microphone and other sensors in the same mobile object.
- wireless connection and speed related to real time dynamic sound interaction.
- light and sensor integration in soft and sensorial stimulating materials.
Therefore we have used much more time than planned on developing different hardware platforms and testing them out in diverse use situations. Here are some of the decisions we have made during the project based on our research and explorations:
- Communication protocol for musical events OSC (Open Sound Control), not MIDI.
- Mobile computer platform BeagleBone, not iPhone/iPod Touch (OSX), or Android.
- SuperCollider, not PureData or Max/MSP.
- Wireless communication by Wifi not Bluetooth or Zigbee.
- 5 Volt usb connectors for all devices not multiple voltages and custom battery connectors.
- Processing as dynamic graphic generation not Jitter or other programs.
- Textile embedded surface mounted LEDs not LEDs with legs on the surface.
- Ribbon cable not Conductive thread.
- Embedded projector into the interactive thing, not wall projection.
- Embedded speakers and Subwofer, not external ones.
14. May 2013 members of RHYME development team participated in an Innovation camp about innovative sound and lighting technologies in health institutions to gain new perspectives, user-insights and a wider network within the field. The Innovation camp was arranged by Innovation network “Dansk Lyd” together with OPALL (Offentlige-Private Alliancer) and Innovations network “Dansk Lys” in DTU’s (Technical University of Denmark) new Innovatorium in Lyngby, outside Copenhagen. Read the program (in danish) and about the results on Opall’s home page.
During the CHI 2013 Conference Jo Herstad and Harald Holone presented their paper Three Tensions in Participatory Design for Inclusion under the Design for Children track on May 1st. In the paper they discuss the challenges in “real” Participatory Design in relation to the RHYME project, especially the challenge of working with children with severe disabilities. The CHI Conference is the leading conference within the field of Human Computer Interaction.