Tune Field

Guadalupe Babio 

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Novel Antenna-Based Controller for Musical Expression

Tune Field is a 3-dimensional tangible interface that combines and alters previously existing concepts of topographical, field sensing and capacitive touch interfaces as a method for musical expression and sound visualization. Users are invited to create experimental sound textures while modifying the topography of antennas. The interface’s touch antennas are randomly located on a box promoting exploration and discovery of gesture-to-sound relationships. This way, the interface opens space to playfully producing sound and triggering visuals; thus, converting Tune Field into a sensorial experience.

There are two ways to make a classical sculpture; by addition or subtraction, so it happens with music and sound waves. Tune Field is influenced by this idea in its physical interaction, through a series of antennas that slide along the Z axis, and the sound generated, a minimalist drone characterized by its slight harmonic variations.

Tune Field’s uniqueness comes from the fact that it is able to combine contactless signal modulation and capacitive sensing techniques. Beside the aesthetic and sculptural advantages, Tune Field provides a UI/performance advantage building on the physicality of a knob or a slider with the advances explored by contactless instruments. 

Unlike other capacitive sensing interfaces, the antennas can recognize their height in the Z-axis and if it is being touched. This feature allow replacing the use of other existing interfaces such as buttons or sliders. It also plays a collective role due to the magnetic field created which interferes in the capacitive sensing measurement of each antenna. This converts Tune Field into a novel interface that allows users to press, slide, tune or switch with a single interface touchpoint, an antenna.

Processing, the programming language for creative coding, creates the visuals for the drone sound with two overlapping elements, a collection of waves and a series of color bars. The waves visualize the last 20 amplitudes of the sound generated. Each bar represents a particular partial of the sound.