Aesthetic Prototype

My slides on Aesthetic Prototype are here.


Looking at all my precedents on visualizations of wave motion (standing wave generators), vibration (Chladni Plates), osciloscopes, I noticed that they tend to have a glow to them, largely due to technology used, or for better contrast. I am inspired to use this contrast along with brighter neon colors, or UV blacklight. I am also inspired by immersive spaces which create a unique, otherworldly feel which frees the participant to experiment and expplore. Examples of this include the Avatar ride in Disney World, and Tron set design.


Similar to the sketches in my Functional Prototypes, I strive for a simple aesthetic that instead focuses on the subject matter at hand. Simple but aesthetically relevant shapes like circles for the circular notation based beat machine; rectangular but proportionate pieces of wood for the marble dropping music maker.

Beat Machine

I decided to create an aesthetic prototype for my beat machine. Using lasercut acrylic and colors, shapes outlined above, I wired up LEDs and a motor to create the prototype.

Being a prototype, and deciding that making it functional was too complex at this point, I made a Wizard of Oz demonstration. In this gif, I was pressing buttons to light up the rings as the needle passed the inserts.

It was more challenging than I thought. Gluing the whole piece together was a nightmare (hexagonal box, clear plastic arcs), and so was soldering the LEDs. The motor was difficult to set up and extending the axle required some work. A greater concern was the UI: the small acrylic pieces are confusing (what should I do with them?), and so were the slots they were supposed to fit into. The final prototype has to address this issue. For ease of construction and time constraints, I may consider using a more software-oriented approach.