Narrative Radio

Hey y’all,

Here is a radio I’ve been working on in my Experimental Form class. All the explanation is on the webpage, but the basic idea is to foster a relationship between the user and the object through fuzzy interaction and play. Please let me know what you think!

Fun piece. The audio engineers I work with would definitely complain about not enough open area on those speakers vents… and they would want bigger drivers and tweeters, basically at least 4 channels of amplification. For open area you want at least 50% and as shallow a depth as possible. Metal perf or open fabric works best… just giving you a couple of pointers in case you ever show it to an audio company.

Woah, that’s pretty cool. Clever interaction. The prototype testing GIFs are super informative, from a portfolio standpoint. Great use of traditional materials–not only does it “wear in, not wear out,” but the “wear” actually has a deeper meaning. Where do you go to school? “Experimental form” sounds like a good time.

Great concept!

I love this type of interaction, Bill Gaver style. It opens up possibilities for not yet known relationships and sparks conversations and ideas.
The form can be the carrier of feedforward and feedback here too, for example if you turn the radio upside down, will the volume still go up when pushing the control upwards? How to turn it off when the user loses the control is another question - it probably needs a spare one.

Sound quality will be very important because the use of materials elicits a high expectation.

As for your craft - you can improve on foam board modeling:
Always cut your sandpaper instead of tearing it, and never leave the cap off your superglue when not in use.

Fun project!

Can you adjust how sensitive the volume and tuning controls are with different code?

Brian, I recently finished my junior year at Carnegie Mellon. Thanks for your feedback - I’m glad you liked the .gifs!

Ralph, thanks for mentioning Bill Gaver, I had never heard of him. And you’re right about the foamcore interior- it’s a sloppy last-minute box to reduce the reflection for the infrared sensor. You’re also right about the sound quality - it was interesting to see the entire class, including myself, only address that at the last minute. I believe we spent most of our time exploring the subtleties of the interactions and set that important bit to the side for too long. I appreciate your feedback!

Andy, yes. All the code can be updated to change what the directions do. Unfortunately the sensor is very finicky, but at least it’s consistent. Currently the X value is divided into five blocks of space, set for five popular radio channels in my area. Scrubbing ended up being too inconsistent to use reliably, so I figure I can just plug in different values if the radio changes cities. It’s a disappointment to me that it didn’t work out, but I didn’t have time to machine a durable and reliable mechanical solution as an alternative to my sensor, and I wasn’t experienced enough to make a sensor array within the time limit of the project. A next iteration or more “real” product would certainly solve this problem. If you’re interested, I used this sensor: ZX Distance and Gesture Sensor Hookup Guide -