Sketching with Hardware 2012 3/6 – Environmental Jukebox

In August, our workshop “Sketching with Hardware” took place for the 6th time. In 7 days, 12 students learnt to use electronic components, to create new creative user interactions and realized their own physical computing projects. The overarching topic for this course was ”Outdoor Electronics”. Again, at the final presentation the crowd had the chance to experience six extraordinary experience prototypes. During the following days, all projects will be presented on this blog. Today: Part 3, Environmental Jukebox! Have fun 🙂

Environmental awareness

As long as anyone can remember our environment has been providing food, water and a space to live for all of us. However our behavior changed and nowadays the environment also is a very important energy supplier. With our project, called the EnvironmentalJukebox, we wanted to make people aware that our environment has capabilities we haven’t ever thought of. It can be used to be creative. Especially aspects referring weather can be used to control a machine we have created. Since music plays a big role in many people’s lives we thought it could be very interesting to connect music and environmental aspects. This is how our project emerged.

What is it?

The EnvironmentalJukebox is, as its name implies, some kind of jukebox. However it’s not a common one. Instead of letting the user choose a certain type of music or radio station, the EnvironmentalJukebox creates and changes music by itself based on four environmental parameters: wind, light, rain and temperature. This music consists of piano-chords and a drum-beat. Once one or more of the environmental parameters change, music changes accordingly. For example, if the speed of the wind increases, the speed of the music increases. If it begins to rain, music gets louder. Temperature is used to decide whether chords within a minor or major key should be played and the amount of light is crucial for the pitch of the tones. The more light is captured the higher is the pitch of the tones and chords.