This work sees the implementation and evaluation of a playground installation which looks at sound as the modality that can provide new and engaging play experiences. The sound design was first tested in a lab setting and later on in a Swedish preschool. 38 children between 2 and 6 years old participated in a field study that lasted for three days.
The design offers children the possibility to manipulate in real-time sound properties towards collaborative play. Children directly control musical parameters of different sound loops played by five nodes. Each node represents a pole with added features to allow the interactive play: a button on top to trigger different sounds and a joystick to alter in real-time the music played.
A node houses a Raspberry Pi 3 that allows the system to process the input data and to generate an output accordingly. Everything related to the auditory dimension is made possible by Pure Data (Pd). The Raspberry Pi runs a python script that continuously communicates to a Pure Data patch. In the Pd patch, sound files are written and stored in arrays and ready to be played and processed. According to the number of button presses, the patch triggers a specific sound and detects any alterations of the joystick.
The actual realisation of the installation was made possible by using a laser cutter and a 3D printer.