Squeeg

How can your grip change your mood through sounds in space? Squeeg is a wireless squishy egg-shaped music player controller to create certain moods based on how hard you squeeze it.

Role

Experience & Interaction Designer, Developer

Project Type

Proof of concept, tangible product

Technology

Arduino, Bluetooth, Web Bluetooth, JavaScript

Project Timeline

October 26th - December 10th 2018

How people listen to a song when they're sad or happy?

Some people say that the music they play represent the feeling they have at the time. Music is one of the universal languages to show our emotions in a beautiful way that is much simpler than words. According to user research, people tend to listen to sad songs when they're sad, but some others prefer more upbeat songs to cheer them up. If there was a way to generate a perfect song that synchronize our mood, it would make music to compliment human emotions more seamless. It would make music as a part of how human describes emotions.

Background

It's hard to know someone's mood only from grip gesture

Every human is unique and has different ways to expose emotions. How people interact with the world can show what feeling they have at the time. In this project, I tried to explore how a single grip interaction can change someone's mood using music. Apparently, a grip interaction was totally different from showing emotions through facial expressions. Through facial expressions, others can tell how a person feels. There are also many technologies that have been developed to track human emotions through facial expressions. The biggest challenge of this project was if a single grip couldn't really tell what emotions people feel, how can we make a certain mood through music using only grip gesture.

The biggest challenge of this project was if a single grip couldn't really tell what emotions people feel, how can we make a certain mood through music using only grip gesture.

Creating moods through music

The goal of this project was to create how people feel a certain mood by using a single interaction - grip gesture. Instead of playing the music based on someone's mood, we created our own moods by playing some songs. Since songs can describe feelings.

I did some researches on how music can create moods based on: beat per minute (BPM), energy, danceability, and valence. The more upbeat the music is, the more energetic we feel. Even though there were still a lot of factors to create mood, but as a proof of concept, this project would only map 4 types of music tempo into 4 ambiences: calm, happy chill, happy, and energetic.

Mapping pressure to music

Making a squishy wireless music controller

Making a compact controller was a challenge. Everything needs to be fit in a small package. For that reason, choosing the materials and electrical components were really important. The smaller the better. To make it wireless was another challenge. Connecting devices through Bluetooth was one of the wireless solutions. I had to learn more about Bluetooth connection from microcontroller to browser using Web Bluetooth.

Technology

Code in Arduino and JavaScript

In the making

Introducing Squeeg, a wireless squishy egg-shaped music controller

There are a lot of things to be done for the future development. Since this project is only a proof of concept, I still need to do a lot of researches to know more about human feelings and how people interact with an object to create a certain feeling. But overall, this project is a step stone to a bigger one.