For immediate release
Social Jukebox is a physical music player tailored to work in a social environment.
Wooden tokens contain a personal playlist created by their owner, providing a physical attachment to their music. These are easily attached to day to day items such as clothing, jewellery or keys to keep them close to hand. The Jukebox mirrors the physical interactions of a record turntable – something we have lost through the growth of digital media.
The Jukebox plays a track from a randomly selected token. This sequence continues throughout the social event providing a unique, collaborative mix built from the playlists of each participant.
While a number of projects already examine the physical possibilities of digital media, very few focus on their interaction and use within a social environment. When we listen to music together, there can be a number of sources all competing to be heard. Everybody has their own musical preferences that they want to share, and Social Jukebox allows everyone to contribute. It takes on the job of selecting tracks, weaving them into a playlist that includes each user.
The lack of a skip function encourages users to experience each other’s music, introducing them to new genres and artists.
The inspiration for this project started by comparing the social listening methods used twenty years ago with today’s way of sharing music. Through research it became clear that the meaning and consideration involved in sharing music has decreased through time. Where we would spend hours making someone a mix-tape, personally mixing it from various cassettes, we now spend minutes, even seconds, sending a link to YouTube or Spotify. The aim of Social Jukebox is to bring back the physical aspect of music sharing and allow it to thrive in a social environment.
The electronic workings are an Arduino board, an RFID reader and servo motor. Each tag contains a small RFID tag, linked to a Spotify playlist. These are rotated under the reader in a random order by the servo motor. Once the tag has been read, an Applescript program opens the playlist in Spotify and plays a random song. The physical design has be carefully considered to be unobtrusive and allow the mechanisms to become the main focus. The design is a reference to vinyl turntables, found to offer some of the richest experiences in music.
The tokens containing the individual playlists are crafted from wood to remain subtle when they are transported, with a simple string allowing them to be attached easily.
Notes to editor:
My name is Andrew Pairman and I study Digital Interaction Design at Dundee University.
The main focus of my work is to broaden our experiences of digital media through physical interactions. Physical computing always plays a large role in my projects, which I feel is important for bridging the gap between what we see on a screen and what we can experience off screen.
“BSc Digital Interaction Design at DJCAD at the University of Dundee educate students in how to design digital interactions by first understanding people’s needs and then working with them throughout the design process to develop appropriate solutions. Through an understanding of technology students are encouraged to design interfaces that work, so they become engaging experiences that people can interact with. The aim is to develop designers who can re-appropriate existing and explore emerging technologies in a playful way and use them as a creative medium throughout the design process.” – Polly Duplock, Programme Director.
Additional Images – http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzJWKCe
Video – http://vimeo.com/41579720
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