Creating Something Else

In this post I will first go through the coding exercise of todays lecture, followed by reflections upon the terms feedback and feedforward and how this can impact in building a design that is not only functional but also attractive to its user(s).

At todays lecture, we went through exercises of how to build a simple button that could switch a LED light on and off, as presented at the last intro lecture to the Arduino. Followed by adding an extra LED light an create opposite outputs for these, if one of the lights was switched on, the other was switched off. This was followed by exercises of adding a small speaker and finally building an interaction that included sound from the speaker. At the final exercise we ended out with a sound that would change when pressing the button (as seen in the below video). Creating these small simple interactions is intriguing, as it makes you wonder how simple a keyboard actually can be created. This was created simply by changing the frequency (hz) and then put it into a loop, I did this with two different outcomes, so there would be a little dynamic every second time the button was pushed, it will change its tone to 1000 hz and 500 hz (as seen in the below image and video).

The latter exercise of creating a simple sound input, made me think how hard can it then be to build up a simple keyboard, that you can play music on (as seen in the below video)?

However, after considering all the possibilities that lies within, the different feedback and feedforward that is presented in the article “Interaction frogger: a design framework to couple action and function through feedback and feedforward” by Wensveen, Djajadiningrat, & Overbeeke. (2004) I came to realize that it is a whole different story.  When thinking about the interaction of a keyboard compared to this simple function build through the Arduino, that have the simple inherent feedforward of a button and functional feedback of the simple sound that is coming through the speaker.  Then the construction of a keyboard is far more complicated. For instants the inherent feedback of pressing down a key compared to a button is as far from each other as it could be. When pressing down a key, it has to have just the right amount of resistance when pressing down the key, to quickly be able to go to the next node in the song.

Furthermore, when it comes to the functional feedback, the sound of a piano, is not just a sound, it have to sound like an actual piano and the output has to be speakers in a high quality to obtain the most realistic and greatest sound possible, otherwise why play the piano at all? Moreover, a keyboard can as the presented one in this post, have all kinds of Augmented feedforward in terms of the written words or pictograms and inherent feedback as for example all the different buttons that can be pushed and turned. Therefore, the actions that can occur is close to infinite, but gives the opportunity for the piano player/user to express himself in countless of ways if finding it interesting to figure out what all the kinds of signifiers could offer.  Through learning these terms, it made me think of design in a whole new light, making me aware of what an interactive design can actually entail for its user(s).

Wensveen, Stephan AG, Tom Djajadiningrat, and C. J. Overbeeke. (2004). Interaction frogger: a design framework to couple action and function through feedback and feedforward. Proceedings of DIS2004. ACM.