(modular) Synthesizers are characterised by having few dimensions to their interaction. From the fact that every aspect of a sound is controlled by a very limited set of inputs, mostly rotary dials or “knobs”, to the fact that coarse and fine grained interaction is hard to achieve. Additionally, influencing more than two parameters precisely at the same time is almost impossible.
Together with the client, MOD Devices, several secondary design limitations or goals have been set up. The final design should be able to be manufactured and reproduced cheaply and easily, it must be easily adaptable and it must be easily assembled by the consumer.
For this project, actual interactivity was needed as opposed to having a pre-made approach, akin to controlling a puppet.
This led to a relatively extensive prototype to be made early on, because musical expression showed to be closely related to the control that participants perceived to have over the their output.
Most project I do are characterised by closely followed iterations of developing and testing.
As a designer, I actively involve participants and possible end users, listening to insights they have with regards to the interaction with prototypes in order to improve on them.
After the function and shape of the prototype and the peripherals was formalised, it needed to be transformed from a prototype to a finished product. Several options for manufacturing like 3D printing and injection moulding were reviewed, but because care was taken to incorporate the secondary design requirements into the iterations the final designs were manufactured out of printed circuit board (PCB) material. Using PCBs made manufacture and assembly easy, as well as cheap. Additionally, the design files, as well as the software are all open source, meaning that they can be adapted and altered to the liking of the end-user. The low cost of manufacturing PCBs increases the adaptability of the design further.
Final interviews were held with the participants, which gave input for the outcomes and insights of the project.
Prototyping, Circuit design, PCB design, Kicad, UX Design, UX Research, Creative problem solving, Hardware development, Interaction design, C++/Arduino development