I am Jiexiang Xu. This is my DECO7385 portfolio. The website is about all the work I did in this course, including individual and team contributions.
For any questions, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sound Lab is a device that helps users reduce stress by synthesizing music. Its appearance is the same as the equipment of the chemical laboratory. The combination of sound and experiment brings users a novel music editing experience.
Most people living in a fast-paced environment will feel anxiety and stress from life and work, which affects their psychological state and quality of life. Studies have shown that some soft sounds in nature and life can effectively relieve stress and help people maintain a healthy mentality. At present, there are many applications on the market that use light music to help users fall asleep and relax, and users have rated them as high as 4.7. But because everyone has different sensitivities to different sounds, unified music does not provide the greatest comfort. Users can make them feel relaxed through self-made music, which can not only effectively relieve their stress, but also make them immersed in the fun of creation, thus forgetting their troubles.
The target users of Sound Lab are those without music background. They will not use professional music editing software, but they have a desire for music creation. They are sensitive to the sounds around them and are good at discovering the strange sounds of everyday objects. Some of them may have the need to relieve stress, and some hope to be able to obtain happiness through creation
Users can carry Dropper with them. When they hear the sounds that make them feel happy and calm at any time and any place, use Dropper to record them and store them in Test Tube. When users feel anxious, nervous, or unable to sleep, they will feel a little calm by mixing and listening to those sounds.
Because of the uncertainty of the recording environment, the quality of the recorded sound is difficult to guarantee, which means that some of the sound may not be suitable for mixing。So, there is a function that can reduce the impact of environmental noise and shield some of the environmental sound; Users can freely control the length of recording; Have beautiful lighting effects and voice prompts to give feedback
Use visual and auditory effects to indicate whether the sound is transferred from the Dropper to the Test Tube, whether it is transferred from the Test Tube to the Flask, and whether there is already a sound in the test tube The dynamic and visual presentation of the sound during playback
When the incoming sound, the dynamic superposition of lights Music play and pause
The user can switch the melody by tapping. The rhythm of the melody is very simple and is used to provide creative inspiration to users. The addition of melody can also make the mixed in Flask more harmonious. But the melody in Jar is fixed and cannot be deleted and edited.
Put the cap on Flask to pause music playback and the lights inside Flask will dim.
Shaking the handle with a smiley face, the sound of applause will be produced. Shaking the handle with a crying face, the sound effect of dislike will be produced and the music in Flask will be deleted.
The whole device is composed of physical connection (Arduino) and program (Python). When the user performs an operation on the creation (such as pressing the dropper head), the physical sensor will execute a certain procedure and give feedback (such as visual feedback). An electronic or analog signal and a command are then generated. After the background program recognizes the instruction, it will complete certain specified operations (such as recording and sound transmission) according to the code settings. In this way, users can physically interact with the product and sound.
This is an audio editing device with a shape very similar to a chemical experiment instrument. It consists of 5 creations: Dropper, Test tube, Flask, Jar and Comments. The device has a total of 5 main functions: sound collection, transmission, storage, mixing and playback. The user uses the Dropper to record the sound. When the user holds the Dropper and approaches the Test Tube, the sound is transmitted from the Dropper to the Test Tube. When the user shakes the Test Tube, he can listen to the sound stored in the Test Tube. There are several default melody stored in Jar, which can help users get creative inspiration. The user can pour the sound from the Test Tube and Jar into the Flask, and mix and play music by shaking the Flask. Friends also can evaluate the mixed music to express their likes or dislikes by shaking the handle.
1.The user can control the length of the recording by pressing the length of the Dropper tip.
2.Each time the sound is recorded using the Dropper, the lights in the Dropper should be randomly colored. And during sound transmission, the color in the Dropper should be the same as the color in the Test Tube.
3.The dropper has the function of shielding noise and selective recording
4.There are multiple melodies within a Jar. The user can switch the melody by tapping Jar.
1.At present, we can only complete recording within a certain time, such as 15 seconds. Because this part of the code requires deeper logic and stronger programming capabilities, this module cannot be completed.
2.The random color function in the Dropper can be achieved, but there is no guarantee that the color in the Dropper and the Test Tube will be the same after the transmission is completed. So for the time being, the colors in the dropper and test tube are both red by default. And after completing the transfer process, the light in the Dropper goes off, and the light in the Test Tube lights up. This can also reflect the directivity of the transmission function.
3.This feature requires third-party music editing software. At present, there is no software on the market that can delete the background sound by a simple operation in a short time, so the simulation scene is applied. During the test, if the user is in a noisy environment, they will be prevented from recording. This means that the recording function cannot be called in a noisy environment.
4.The function of switching songs is temporarily unavailable, so a melody is stored in a Jar. Multiple Jars can also provide users with a variety of choices.
The physical part is a self-made dropper and plastic jars coated with white paint. The pressing part of the Dropper comes from a cleaning tool with a brush. I separated the brush from the pressing part and replaced the brush with a plastic dropper tube. In this way, the creation looks very similar to a real dropper. Because the user needs to press the dropper tip for interaction, a button is placed in it. Due to the large gap inside the tip, a lot of filler is inserted inside to ensure that the user can accurately press the button. Because there is a light effect in the dropper, which is used to display the recording status, an LED is set at the connection between the tube and the tip. In order to ensure aesthetics, all threads protrude from a cut. In addition, the exterior of Jar and Dropper are covered with white paint, so that the built-in lights will become more obvious. In order to make the painted Jar more similar to the real experimental equipment, the scale is marked. In addition there is an RGB light and a tilt switch inside the Jar, this is to realize the interaction of colorful lights and trigger transmission function.
The following pictures are the code of recording function in the background program and the interaction code of Arduino (Dropper and Jar: light up + output command)
1. After starting from World Cafe, our team was established. Our theme is about "Music Metrics". After screening four more creative ideas, the basic concept of Sound Lab was born. We want to be able to combine sound and experiment. At first, our idea was very simple. Just use flasks and test tubes as tools for storing music.
2. We showed our ideas to many people in and after class in the form of paper prototype. After getting enough feedback, we revised the problem space and target audience again, because of some logic loopholes and irrationality. We also used TAM as an evaluation method to measure users' acceptance of Sound Lab. Combining the results of the interview, we obtained a total of 4 development directions: the way music is added, novel physical interaction, more visual feedback and simplified operation.
3. After recapping the problem space, project concepts, goals, features, storyboards, and target audience, the complete proposal was completed. In order to better understand the team's tasks, the content of cooperation was further broken down.
4. After learning the tutorials of Arduino, the device function design and prototyping plan were made. We divided the entire project into a physical part and a software part. Everyone in the team is responsible for the construction of their functions from these two parts and purchased the required materials in a team.
5. In the class, our team's project progress and basic prototypes were displayed, using a combination of documents and videos. We conducted a dialectical analysis of the information received, and obtained some useful feedback, such as more available suggestions about voice and visual interaction methods. In addition, some suggestions that did not meet our project were rejected after discussion, such as adding more music editing roles.
6. In order to beautify Sound Lab, we replaced a full set of materials. Replace them from plastic toys to glass products. And according to the user added more functions in their respective parts to improve the user experience and fun.
1. The first thing I did was the recording function. I found a code tutorial on the Internet about using the keyboard to record sound. Before using Python to complete it, I installed the Pyaudio and PortAudio modules. This is to make the program run well. In addition, some requirements that did not meet the recording function required in our project were discovered, such as the naming of audio files, storage location and recording duration control. I tried to use the code to change these functions to meet the requirement of our project.
2. I first determined that Dropper and Jar are plastic children's toys, because it is not easy to be destroyed and will not cause harm to the body. In addition, I also designed instructions for connecting Arduino and Python. And, some available sensors and other physical components have also been identified.
3. All the components were connected to the breadboard and development board according to the Arduino tutorial content. And I also wrote the relevant code on IDLE to ensure that through the code, the component can accurately complete the corresponding function.
4. Based on the feedback obtained in presentation, I picked out a few obvious UX problems that could be improved: light feedback is not obvious, interaction is not interesting enough, too many exposed lines, Jar's volume is too small and the noise shielding function is not implemented. In response to these problems, I thought of some solutions that can be improved regarding the appearance, materials, voice interaction and beauty of the product. For the noise shielding function, there is still no better idea besides the simulation.
5. After completing the product and before showing it, we conducted many exercises to ensure that all functions can run smoothly without errors. After combining with the work completed by other team members, many problems occurred in the entire product operation process. For example, the sensor is not sensitive; the connection between lines is not good; the program exits unexpectedly and cannot run. After several improvements, some of the original functions could not be realized for technical reasons, and an emergency simulation plan was formulated.
Overall, the project is still very successful, because it was affirmed by most people when the final product was displayed. But there is still room for improvement throughout the design phase. Because we have more functions and greater flexibility in user participation (they may not follow the process to operate, such as pouring music from Flask back into the Test Tube/adding the sound from the Dropper directly to Flask), At the current design stage, the user can only operate according to the designed use flow, otherwise the system may not recognize the user's operation. In addition, it is also because the content of the project is complicated. In the design stage, we put a lot of energy into how to rationalize and unify the processes and operations. There is a lack of research on user experience (although we have done some user research. The amount of data we have collected is not sufficient). Research on the user is very important, because it determines whether the product is accepted by the user and the user's preference for the product.
In addition to the improvements at the design stage, there are also areas for improvement in the final product, such as the use of wires and sensors. According to user feedback, the Test Tube cannot be in contact with the dropper during the operation of a regular chemical experiment. However, in order to perform the transmission function, we use a pressure sensor on the Test Tube. The transmission function is triggered when the user touches the inner wall of the Test Tube while holding the Dropper. The operation is obviously inconsistent with the operation of chemical experiments and needs to be improved. Also, we should reduce the use of threads as much as possible, such as the wires in Droppers and Test Tubes. The presence of the wires not only lowers the aesthetic standards but also restricts the user's operation (for example, the presence of the threads in the Dropper prevents the user from holding the Dropper to go outdoors), although we have changed the appearance of the wires (After finishing all the threads, tie them into a bunch with tape).
Although Sound Lab still has many problems, it fits the studio theme. Our products are interesting and have relatively high requirements for users' innovation skills.
According to the feedback from the showcase, users feel that it is highly playable. It is a very novel idea to edit music with a combination of sound and experimental equipment. And the process of music creation can really keep them focused, thereby reducing their sensitivity to things that make them feel stressed. In addition, the dim environment and colorful lighting effects make them feel very relaxed.