TuneTable: a multi-touch tabletop for learning programming concepts through music composition

MY ROLE: INSTALLATION DESIGN  |  CONSTRUCTION LEAD  |  TANGIBLE UI DESIGN  |  UX DESIGN

 

Interaction

You can compose short songs by assembling linear chains of blocks. Each block has a unique pattern on the bottom called a fiducial that the software is able to recognize when it's placed on the tabletop. Put together a puzzle-like chain and adjust parameters (like the number of times a sample loops) using the touch-sensitive surface. Tap the giant play button to run your composition and hear the song. The table accommodates multiple users and multiple block compositions. 

Goal

to teach basic computer programming concepts to middle school-aged to high school-aged students (9-15 years old) using blocks to make music. Blocks represent concepts like: functions, parameters, loops, and embedded loops, making the abstract nature of programming more concrete and easier to grasp. 

Build

I built the multi-touch acrylic surface using diffused surface illumination. Infrared light is diffused through the acrylic surface from the edges; when it is touched, a camera with a modified IR lens mounted below the table detects the point of contact. The software (ReacTIVision) reads surface activity and Processing triggers the projector to display visual feedback on the vellum-covered table top and triggers the audio feedback as well. 

MADE BY:

MARC HUET -- PROGRAMMER

JESSICA ANDERSON -- DESIGNER

TRAVIS GASQUE -- FABRICATOR

FOR BRIAN MAGERKO'S EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY STUDIO IN THE DIGITAL MEDIA PROGRAM AT GEORGIA TECH, SPRING 2015

 

TuneTable.png

WHERE IS TUNETABLE NOW?