Making Things Interactive

February 28, 2008

Midterm Proposal: BOOMBOXES

Filed under: 7: Mid-Term Project,Jesse Chorng — Jesse @ 10:19 pm


Currently, I am working on a SURG grant involving music and social interaction. Before taking the class, the project only consisted of an outdoor seating space with built in speakers to plug an mp3 player into. To better understand, here’s the SURG Proposal pdf. 

The space will be composed of several benches varying in size that users can move and manipulate according to their needs. In the Google SketchUp pic below, you can get a rough idea about how the space will function.

Boomboxes SketchUp

Although the picture doesn’t show it, there will be cables running from all the individual benches into a main station (the tallest block in the pic). The main station is where the user can dock their iPod and make their song selection. There will be a mini stereo plug for non-iPod users as well, although information gathered from here will be more limited but more on that later.After choosing the song, the user will then see the bench begin react to the music. Individual benches will have strips of LEDs horizontally going up the side of the bench, much like an equalizer bar.  Each individual bench will display the levels and ‘dance’ along with the music and thus encouraging others to as well.  Meanwhile, the Arduino will gather additional information from the iPod and upload the Artist and Track titles. As a researcher, I can then easily see what is being played and during what time of day anywhere I have access to the internet.  The benches will become a social gathering area and an interactive installation by giving a space where students can interact with each other and music. They will even be able to remotely interact with the bench by checking the online status of what’s going on through something like Twitter


My plan for next Thursday is to get the Arduino talking to an iPod, as well as getting it online. Using the Ethernet Shield sold by Ladyada, I will connect the Arduino through an ethernet cable and Twitter some actions coming from the iPod.  If all goes well, by next week, I will be able to send simple commands to an iPod through programming, have the Arduino Twitter something like “The iPod is playing music” or “The iPod just changed tracks”  As a bonus, I hope to use the LM3915 IC to get the level meter and 10 LED indicator to function as well.


The CODE SKETCH will be something like this:
If voltage of Analog Input 1 is above 1, then song is playing.
If song is playing, Twitter “A song is playing”
Wait until song is changed.
When track changes, Twitter “The song has changed”
When music stops and voltage is 0, nothing is connected.
If nothing connected, Twitter “Nothing connected”

This seems a bit simple, but I think the coding and adapting the awesomely cool Botanicalls Twitter code will be a large part of the project and a huge step towards the final project. The level indicator does not interface with the Arduino but it will be going all the while.


1 Comment »

  1. […] to an existing SURG grant. I wanted to focus on three things that would make Boomboxes (see here to refresh your memory) more conducive to social interaction. By utilizing the Arduino, I wanted […]

    Pingback by Midterm: Visual LED Sound Meter « Making Things Interactive — March 9, 2008 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: