Synaesynth

The Synaesynth is an instrument that uses the colours in your life. It translates imagery directly into music. Colour data is pulled from a video feed and sent to the control pad, allowing you to pick and choose which colours you’d like to hear transformed into sounds, in real time.

Exploring

The project derives it’s name from synaesthesia, a condition described as “the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.”

I was interested in exploring the ways in which visuals could be experienced as audio and of how existing pieces of art could be appropriated in another format. The project was an extension of my fascination with generative art.

raspberry-pi-proto2
Early prototypes of a highly portable device: TFT display running off of a Raspberry Pi.
arduino-proto
Another earlier prototype, this time utilising an arduino and a cheap button matrix
raspberry-pi-proto

Testing

I found I could move much faster in software and iterate in tighter loops. I decided to validate the algorithm that produces the music itself, and work on the hardware in parellel with a view to merge both streams of work at a later stage.

An early software prototype used while refining the music algorithm
An early software prototype used while refining the music algorithm
Variant of the software prototype and early user testing
Variant of the software prototype and early user testing
synaesynth-testlab
synaesynth-usability
Formal testing of the concept and MVP functionality

 

Crafting

I took much of the learnings from the early hardware exploration and settled on a hardware stack that I was comfortable with and began to spec out the design in Solidworks.

synaesynth-wireframe
synaesynth-metal
Testing the fit of the laser cut metal faceplate with the silicon moulded buttons

Fabrication of the wooden unibody was expertly crafted by friend and fellow Melbourne designer Elliot Henkel, who helped me choose an appropriate timber, handled creating the jigs and hand-routed each of the 3 prototypes.

DSC_0729
synaesynth-hand-made
Each of the wooden housings was expertly made by designer Elliot Henkel

Prototype

synaesynth _ 01 synaesynth _ hello stranger (boot message) Synaesynth-SS-03-870x490

Video