learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pedal Prototyping

I built a rough foot pedal assembly for the rope & pulley system. I’m not quite sure what to make of it just yet, but it didn’t feel right. Previously, pulling the rope towards my body would trigger a note on the synthesizer. As I pulled with increasing speed, the pulley system would increase the volume of the note along with a sound modulating parameter. As I pulled with decreasing speed, the system would decrease the volume and modulation parameter. Once the pulley stopped rotating, the system would turn off the note on the synthesizer. Today, I changed my code so that the rope only controls volume and modulation. I used the two foot switches I built to trigger two different notes on the synthesizer. It felt a bit more like playing a piano with my feet. I felt like I couldn’t move as freely because my feet needed to be on the switches for the notes to stay on.

Foam Gasket Foam Gasket and Foil Contact Initial Foot Pedal Prototype

Ideas:
- Maybe there is an “initial state” of the instrument — akin to an open string on a guitar or violin. (This can be tuned to the user’s preference). This way, stepping off the footswitches still allows sound to occur when the rope is pulled.
- Does it make sense to allow more than one switch to be pressed at a time? I like the idea of being able to play intervals or simple chords with the system, but it doesn’t make sense with the string metaphor.
- This is the synthesizer setup — what about the sample playback setup? What experiments can I do there to push forward a bit?
- How do I capture a “gesture” with the rope like a rapid direction change?

posted by Michael at 4:44 pm  

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