Author: Federico Lameri, Sandro Pianetti
Teacher: Massimo Banzi, Giorgio Olivero
Course: Designing Advanced Artifacts
Step. A rec & play loopstation for little musicians
Step is a toy that allows children, in a very playful and straight forward way, to compose and edit simple loops using custom sounds. Some basic topics of music composition such as sound sampling, tempo and track channels are introduced to children who plays with it, in fact children can record sounds such as a finger snap or a dog barf, place them on the loop grid, control the BPM and get their music loop done.
Most of the music toys on the market nowdays are trying to fake the sounds and the experience of real instruments. Step is designed to give children the opportunity to create real loops and beats using whatever sounds they like. Step would give children the opportunity to create simple sound loops and hopefully to change the perceive of their surroundings inspiring them to look at everyday objects with more curiosity and wonder, with the eyes of a little musician. During some user testng we made, we discovered some unexpected aspects of the user experience like the opportunity to sample not only sounds made with voice or with the body but for example sounds coming from other music toys like guitars or xylophones. We discovered that even words can be recorded on the color tags transforming the music loop in a “sentence loop”.
Interface, interaction modality
The Step’s interface is composed by a board and color tags. There are six tags for each color: blue, red, yellow and green. Using the “recording station” kids can record a sound and match it with a color. Composing the loop it’s very easy, by placing the sound tags on the loop grid the embedded speaker will start playing the sequence. It is possible to control the velocity of the loop using a knob on the board. The speed and the steps of the sequence are shown with a series of LEDs.