SoundSquid is a digital music toy, that can be played both alone and together. Around its core you’ll find six different objects. Even without any musical knowledge, you can create or manipulate sounds by interacting with these modules. The exact way is different for each - try to shake or turn them and hear what happens. With SoundSquid you will unfold your creativity by exploring different sounds and shapes. Since there are six modules, up to six players can jam together.
Date: 5th semester (2015/2106)
Duration: 5 months
Team Size: 3 people
Technology: Arduino, Sparkfun WAV-Trigger, 3D Printing
Constraints: Create a playable prototype of a digital toy. The toy must not make use of a screen.
My Part: Besides the concept, I worked on the interactions the players can have with the toy. Most of my time I spent assembling the technical portions of the core and modules and making them work together.
What I've learned: Everything in this project was new to me. I've never made a toy before and I've barely heard about the Arduino or other microcontrollers. But all this gave me the opportunity to really learn how to learn. How to dig deep into something starting completely from scratch. Needless to say that I was frustrated and hopeless sometimes during that process, but I've learned more than ever how to deal with that. Due to this all new experience I've also learned a lot about the structure and process of creative projects in general.
Based on our first experiments with the microcontrollers we early on decided to make something modular - so that there is a great variety of interactions possible. Due to the size and vulnerability of the controller we came up with the idea of putting the main electronic into a core and placing the interactive parts around it. From there we iterated and experimented towards the final SoundSquid.
To communicate and present our project, but also to determine some aspects, details and goals of the toy itself, we made a concept document. It turned out to be a very helpful tool, because we then had these things documented and always at hand. (Text in German)
Starting with no experience or idea on how micro electronics work I began to teach myself the basics of the Arduino-Microcontroller. Based a lot on tutorials and even more on trial and error, I actually gathered enough knowledge to get things going.
Obviously I was still far away from having a real expertise, although I was able to build the different modules one by one. Still there was a lot of failure and desperation involved, but slowly the technics got closer to its final result. The following images are showing the Touch-Module as an example.