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2 weeks ago we were asked to finalize our design challenge, and answer some questions about our project. here is what i came up with:

Catchy title

  • open chip tunes

A more descriptive tagline

  • can we bridge the open source and chip-tunes community, while applying it to state of the art, open hardware, to create a new a de-central compositional platform? a research in to the field of open communities, open design processes and open source hardware.

I’m interested in/inspired by…

  • open source hardware.
  • the evolution of the design process when entering the world of rapid prototyping and copy paste-able designs.
  • working with limitations.
  • repurposing technology.
  • working with data structures on the terms of the data structures.
  • data, sound and communication visualization
  • interface design.
  • distributed intelligence and composition.
  • distributed design.
  • nature / evolution / chaos.
  • being part of something bigger. I can contribute something, the idea, the outline, but many others can contribute to this idea as well, and essentially I never know where it is going next. I like this.

Design challenge:

  • Make an open source platform for composing and performing music, which is cheap and accessible, building upon the approach and knowledge gained in the chip tunes community.
  • Allow myself to be playful and experiment.
  • Work with simplicity and constraints, rather than a feature driven focus.
  • Remember that the beauty and complexity of natures perfection is built upon co-existence of many simple and different units, rather than one central computational design.
  • Embrace chaos.
  • Work towards a presentation form which works in an artistic context, while also showcasing the product.
  • Prototype, prototype, prototype!

And from a more philosophical point of view:

  • Is it possible to design for open source hardware? Or is this a contradiction in terms?
  • Is it possible to benefit from the energy of two similar communities, and two bridge the two in a project which draws on the competences of users in both communities?
  • How does one make a project appealing to the open source approach?
  • How can I open and document my design in a way, that makes it appealing for other people to take part in?

what value do you want to deliver with your design and to whom?

  • working in hardware gives me the benefit of actually designing hadware suited for music composition and performance. chiptune instruments are inherently hacked generic gaming consoles, suited hardware-wise best for gaming, not playing music.

are you designing for the present, for the near future, or for a long term one?

  • all in one. hopefully I can create something which is useful as a performance / composition tool and inspiration right now. in the near future I could see people updating the code and the hardware to optimize the platform. and in the long term it would be beautiful if I could have added my little push towards a more democratized design domain, and open source hardware in general.

what technology are you relying on?

  • arduino. programming. circuit bending. experimenting, possibly gathering inspirations from theories on artificial and distributed intelligence.

which are the key stakeholders in the domain of your project?

  • the open source community, the chip tunes community, the circuit bending community. musicians I know interested in testing the designs. myself.

what has already been done in this domain that could inspire/limit your concept?

  • the OP-1 from teenage engineering is a very cool product, that does many of the – things I am aiming for. but it is closed source and terribly expensive
  • loud objects. super cool noise project based on very simple and open hardware – designs. but very noisy and chaotic.
  • and many many more, wayyyyy to many to mention here. check my delicious links for more fantastic projects.

in which direction to you want to push the boundaries of the interaction design practice?

  • from a more theoretical perspective I am very interested in the dissolving the traditional design role. I would love to create something for other to join in to. something for people to co-create, imitate and mutate.
  • from a pratical perspective I am very interested in becoming skilled at producing object and working with methods and technologies that allow my ideas to be easily reproduced and mass-produced.

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