Welcome to share Tianrui's portfolio of the sound lab project.
In today's fast-paced life, most people often have various kinds of stress or have varying degrees of anxiety. In order to solve this problem, the problem space studied by our team is to use sound to help people reduce stress. We will focus on people without professional music knowledge(Target user). Our purpose is to help them create their favorite music in a simple, easy-to-learn, and fun way, which will help them maintain a good mood. This product is named "Sound Lab " that helps users who do not have music knowledge to use their favorite daily sound to create mixed sound. It has six main functions, they are recording sound, playing sound, storing sound, mixing sound, deleting sound, and interacting with friends to rate the mixed sound.
Each tool in the entire design has its own purpose and function. Droppers can record sounds, test tubes can store different sounds, flasks can mix and play sounds, flask caps can pause playback, and two handles are used to rate the music and delete music . Users can carry a dropper outside to collect their favorite sounds, and then return home to store the collected daily sounds (for example, running water, wind sounds) in test tubes, and store their favorite melody in jars (for example light music) . Then, they can use the flask to make a mixed sound. Users can also share their mixed sounds with friends and let them to express whether they like it.
The complete interactive experience is as follow:
1. Users find their favorite sounds in daily life (for example, the sound of running water, the sound of birds singing, etc.);
2. Move the dropper close to the sound source, squeeze the dropper, the light in the test tube lights up and the prompt sound "start recording", then begin to record the daily sound, and the sound will be stored in the dropper;
3. Suspend the dropper above the test tube and squeeze the dropper, the daily sounds in the dropper will be transferred into the test tube, when the user wants to listen to daily sounds, shake the test tube and the test tube will play the daily sounds stored in it；
4. Make a mix: Just like doing a chemical experiment, pour the sounds you want to mix (the sounds are stored in test tubes and jars) into the flask. Each time a sound is added to the flask, an additional light will turn on in the flask；
5. Shake the flask, different music will be mixed together, when the mixing is completed, smoke will be emitted. The role of smoke is to remind the user that the mixing is complete, when playing sounds, different colors of sparkles shine in the flask light;
6. Share mixed sounds and interaction with friends: Select the "smile face" or "crying face" handle, if friends like the mix, shake the smile face handle and the users will get applause, if they don't like it, shake the crying face handle, after a "sad music" sound, the mix will be deleted.
7. There will be a screen showing the frequency of daily sounds, melody and mixed sound.
This video shows the operation process of "Sound Lab", visual effects, auditory effects, interactive methods and the currently successful product functions. It has some gaps with the ideal effect, but already has the functions of recording, playing, mixing, stopping playing , deleting and functions, as well as visual and sound effects such as lights and prompt sound. In terms of interaction, its operation method is basically the same as that of chemical experiments. In terms of visual effects, each step of operation includes a light effect, and some operations have a prompt sound.
I will introduce how to make each part of Sound Lab, it is mainly made by Python, Unity and Arduino:
1. Dopper: A dropper with a Bluetooth recorder, buttons and LED lights hidden inside it. Squeeze the button and the light will turn on. After the prompt tone, the Bluetooth recorder starts recording.
2. Test tube: Some test tubes, inside which hide the LED lights, pressure sensor, vibration sensor and tilt switch. When the dropper touches the pressure sensor, the sound is stored in the test tube and the light in the test tube lights up. Shake the test tube, the vibration sensor feels the vibration and play the sound. Dump the test tube, the tilt switch is triggered, and the sound is transmitted into the flask.
3. Jar: Some jars have LED lights, vibration sensors and tilt switches. Its technology is similar to test tubes.
4. Flask: A flask have a vibration sensor and RGB lights in it.
5. Flask Cap: A cap with ambient light sensor in it. When the ambient light sensor felt the RGB light in the flask, the sound stopped playing.
6. Handle: Handles made of cardboard with a smiley face and a crying face on the handle. Inside the handle is a vibration sensor, shaking the smiley face handle to trigger applause Sound. Shake the crying face handle to delete the mixed sound.
7. Frequency of sound: When playing sounds (daily sounds, melody and the mixed sound), the fluctuation of sound will be displayed on the screen, which is made by unity.
1. At the stage of narrow team domain, we used questionnaires, reading literature and researching similar mobile phone applications. Based on these, we learned about the sources of stress and common decompression methods.
2. In the classroom, we brainstormed with our classmates in the way of World cafe. We got a lot of inspiration and found a preliminary design direction.
3. In the early stage of design, we showed the concept of the product to users through body storming and paper prototypes and collected some user suggestions through interviews to get more design inspiration.
4. In the middle of the design, we made a prototype, introduced the product to the user through video demonstration, and obtained user feedback. We used the user feedback to iterate the product. At this stage we used TAM to analyze user feedback.
5. In the final product, we obtained user needs through video interviews and added new interaction methods and new functions based on these.
Related popular apps
Frequency of music
For the entire project, there is some gap between our final product and the ideal product. In the final exhibition, we obtained some user feedback. Some suggestions from users are similar to our ideal products, but because of time, technical level and cooperation methods, we have not successfully achieved the ideal product. Listed below are my reflections on the product.
1. The product has limited space for use: In our ideal product, users cannot see any wires, they can hold each part to move freely, but in actual products, a large number of wires are used to connect sensors. These wires limit the user's moving space.
2. Product quality: Many sensors and lights are used in our products, and they will have poor contact after frequent use.
3. Not all product functions are successful: due to the limited technical level, many functions have not yet been completed. For example, the frequency of the sound is not successfully associated with the sound playback function. At present, the sound frequency displayed when playing sound is made by Unity, but the sound uses python to execute the recording and playback commands. During the operation, we need to input the file path of the recorded sound and the file path of the mixed sound into unity.
3. Interactive mode: In an ideal product, many ideal interactive modes are different from the actual mode. Our ideal way of interaction is exactly the same as that of chemistry experiments. Because we have not purchased a suitable sensor, some interaction methods are replaced by others.
4. Because of our limited time, we originally planned to use the Raspberry Pi instead of the computer to run the program, but in the end there was not enough time to achieve this goal.
5. Product make-up: The products mainly use containers used in chemical experiments, but they do not look beautiful, because these containers are glass products and small in size, so we did not hide the wires very well. If there is enough time, we should customize better-looking containers.
Problem space: In the initial problem space study, I learned about the sources of people's stress and the effect of music on stress relief through literature review. In addition, I interviewed our target users about their experience with popular mixing software.
Concerned functions: I mainly focus on the parts related to the mixing function. After completing the basic mixing functions, I have expanded a new functional module to interact with others according to user needs. Users can share their mixes with friends, and friends can express whether they like it.
Interactive mode: I imitated the operation mode of the chemical experiment as much as possible, so as to give users a better immersion experience and make the mixing process similar to the chemical experiment. Because many chemical materials are colored liquids, and the sound is colorless and odorless, I use light effects instead of chemical liquid materials. Users can judge whether each operation is successful based on the light and sound.
Preparation materials before mixing (provided by my teammates): different daily sounds and different styles of melody.
The ideal product: a flask with a screen, the screen will display the number of sound materials added to the flask, showing the length of music and playing time. Make a mix: Just like doing a chemical experiment, pour the sounds you want to mix (the sounds are stored in test tubes and jars) into the flask. Each time a sound is added to the flask, each of the flasks will light up one more Lamp. Shake the flask, different music will be mixed together, when the mixing is completed, smoke will be emitted. The role of smoke is to remind the user that the mixing is complete, when playing sounds, different colors of sparkles shine in the flask light.
Share mixing and interaction with friends: Select the "smiley face" or "crying face" handle, if friends like the mix, shake the smiley face handle and you will get applause, if they don't like it, shake the crying face handle, after a "sad music" sound, the mix will be deleted.
Concept of My Part
The video shows the part I made, which includes mixing function, pause function, delete function, and interact with friend function. As shown in the video, after the user pours the sound materials in the test tube and jar of his choice into the flask, the user shakes the flask, the mixed Sound will be played, and the flask will shine with multiple colors of light. If the user wants to stop playing music, they need to cap the cap of the flask. After the cap is closed, the light in the flask dims. If the user's friends like this mix sound, they can shake the handle with a smiling face, and the user can hear applause. If the user's friends do not like the mix, they can shake the handle with a crying face, and the mix will be deleted, and a piece of sorrowful music will be played as a reminder when deleted. After the sound is deleted, all lights in the flask are turn off.
Technical: I mainly use Python and arduino.The materials I use are: 1. Flask: A flask with a vibration sensor and RGB lights hidden in it. 2.Flask Cap: A cap with ambient light sensor in it. When the ambient light sensor felt the RGB light in the flask, the sound stopped playing. 3. Handle: Handles made of cardboard with a smiley face and a crying face on the handle. Inside the handle is a vibration sensor, shaking the smiley face handle to trigger applause. Shake the crying face handle to delete the mix.
The mixing code: On the code, the way I achieve mixing is to mix the first sound and the second sound together, so that they generate the third sound, the effect of the third sound sounds like Play the first and second sounds simultaneously. Then mix the fourth sound and the third sound (composed of the first and second sounds) into the fifth sound in the same way.
Physical make-up: I made a box using cardboard, and hid wires, development boards, and breadboards in it. Outside the box, I made a small box for the flask cap, to provide a dark space for the cap, the purpose is to prevent the photoresistor from being affected by external light. Above the box, I made two handles from paper, because the handle has a vibration sensor, in order to reduce vibration, I inserted the two handles in the box. When the user wants to shake the handle, pull out the handle and shake it. Above the box, I placed a blue paper rose flower, which is just a decoration.
In the research stage of problem space, my focus is on the user experience of the mixing software, especially users who do not have any musical knowledge background. First, Through telephone interviews with different volunteers and research on mixing software,I found that users do not have the ability and method to fuse multiple different pieces of music together, they will only superimpose different sounds together. When too much music material is given to them, they do not know how to deal with the relationship between different music, they are very easy to design "noise". For the current popular mixing software, users think that the operation is too complicated and it takes a long time to learn. In my design, I focus on finding a mixing method that is convenient for users to learn and give users a better visual experience during the mixing process. Secondly, I found that users care very much about the quality of music, and noise will make them more annoying. I want to help users reduce the possibility of mixing out "noise". If the mix designed by the user is not good, their mood will be even worse, and they will lose confidence in continuing to use the product.
Low-fidelity prototype: I used body storming and paper prototypes to demonstrate my design concept. The user suggested that I increase the smoke effect. When the mixing is complete, the flask releases some smoke, and some users worry about the effect of the mixing .
Medium fidelity prototype: In this part, I focused on the mixing function and added some lighting effects to the flask. According to user feedback, they think the operation process is simple and easy to learn. I also got some new suggestions, for example, some users suggested that I use more visual effects, and some users suggested that I add more interactive methods.
Final prototype: At this stage, I added some new features based on the feedback from the previous stage. For example the interactive function between friends, they can evaluate the mixed sound made by each other by shaking the handle, and the pause function of the sound. According to new user feedback, users feel that the different sounds are not harmonious, for example, the melody sound is too loud, and the daily sounds are very small. There are also users who believe that the quality of the sound is not high. When there are more sounds mixed into the sound, there will be more noise in the mix.
Research on Apps
Medium fidelity prototypes
The basic functions of the product have been completed, but some additional functions, visual effects and sound effects have not been completed well. According to user feedback, the operation of the product is easy to learn, but the product still has many possibilities for improvement.
Technical aspect: I originally planned to use the screen to display the frequency of the mix, but because I did not successfully integrate Unity and Python, I could not achieve this in the end.
Visual effect: The appearance of the product is relatively simple, and some wires are not covered, which makes the product look immature and lacks appeal to users. Too many wires bring trouble to the user's operation, they need to pay attention to the safety of the wires. Regarding the smoke function, I did not buy the ideal smoke machine, so I gave up the smoke effect.
Sound effect: The sound effect is not as expected. The volume of the melody is so high that the daily sound cannot be clearly heard by the user. In addition, when more than three sounds are added to the flask, the quality of the music played will become worse and a lot of noise will be generated. I will study how to reduce the noise in the next step.
Compared with the ideal product, I did not find a way to install a small screen on the glass flask, this problem also needs to be overcome in future work.
Major: Interaction Design
Journal link: https://deco3850.uqcloud.net/students/tzhang