BounceBoy - interactive physical audio installation (2019)
PureData code, Processing code, Makey Makey, four speakers, MOTU 1248 interface, ping-pong bat
BounceBoy lets a participant interact with sound in a seemingly physical-manner, being able to create and bounce around sounds using a ping-pong paddle. An apt metaphor would be a paddle with a ball on a very long elastic string. You hit the ball, it flies away until the elastic string reaches its limit and then the ball will come flying back. If you hit it right, it will fly away again. If not, it stops. BounceBoy works very similarly, but with sound, instead of a ball.
A participant of BounceBoy can 'charge up' a sound (change its pitch) and let it fly off in one of four directions (front, back, left, right). The sound will fly away, slow down, reach a point of zero momentum and return towards the participant, building up speed on its way back. This effect is achieved by manipulating the reverb of the sound and applying the Doppler effect. The participant can then bounce the sound back or let it die out.
Like a normal flying object, the sound balls audio reveals its distance and speed. Careful listening is therefore needed to determine the distance between the participant and the sound, in order to assess when the participant needs to get ready to bounce the sound back. This gets increasingly harder the more sounds a participant puts into space.
Bounce Boy was created as a final project for the Sound, Space and Interaction (SSI) graduate course at Leiden University.