midterm prototype: poetic sound umbrella

For my midterm project, I’m developing an umbrella that will serve as the user interface for a processing sketch that plays the first stanza of a poem in multiple voices. The sketch itself allows you to explore poetry in the way that musicians often play with music: muting and unmuting voices to create different sound effects; recording and playing back your composition.

I hope to use the shape of the umbrella to enhance the acoustics and further engage the user in experiencing the poem and giving him/her more agency in the composition. So far, I have an photo-resistor  that triggers all the vocal tracks to play and button switches that let you mute and unmute tracks. It’s not show in the video above, but I’ve also added record, save, and playback buttons.

In the next week, I need to arrange all of these components on the umbrella itself and deal with some of the questions of how the user will interact with both the umbrella and also viewing the sketch on the computer screen. I would like to also add a function for the user to record his/her own vocal track that he/she can mute and unmute with all of the other tracks. Two of the major challenges that I anticipate are: 1. the timing of the tracks (I’ve tested recording and playback before and there’s a slight lag time); 2. the sound recording input (when the user records his/her own vocal track, then he/she needs to use headphones and a mic; when the user wants to playback everything, I want him/her to be able to hear it through speakers in the umbrella in order to best utilize the shape and the acoustics that it produces). The solution that I’m currently exploring and am kind of excited about involves making an audio switcher so that the user can toggle between output to headphones/mic v. external speakers.

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