Abstract:The Woo!Board is a wooden device, shaped almost like a half sphere, that hides a WiiMotionPlus-Controller to act as a physical interaction interface that controls sound via a bluetooth connection with Max/MSP. The motion of the board, the tilting and shifting triggers for instance the sound itself or simply the volume or the panning, depending on the programmed Max patch. The board is used to explore peoples behaviours and their approaches to sound that is manipulated via physical interaction, while hiding all the technical and computational devices from them.
The Name: The name Woo!Board refers to W like WiiController, wireless, whirlng derwish, woooha! wonderful, ... and O like operational, organization of space, open source, overall fun!, ... People stepping on the board for the first time usually say something like "woohh!" while trying to find their balance.
Inspiration: The original concept involved balancing on skateboards. The issue we had with the skateboard is the wheels - and wanted the users to focus on the interaction with each other
Concept: Our concept was to examine how users would interact with two balance boards thatthat create and synthesize certain sounds. Especially because the devices hide their computational power due to their material and design. Two hemillipsoid-shaped boards are used - one for each user. One of our goals in creation of this board was to have the users collaborate in the creation of music in a sort of 'band-like 'experience, while our other goal was to study different users' perceptions, understanding of -, and interaction with the device. The boards were created in such a way that facilitates the collaborative creation and synethsis of sounds in an unconventional, more organic way through mainly balancing, tilting, twisting if not through new ways which the users themselves discover - ways which we might not directly be aware of. Our approach is influenced by the embodied interaction paradigm of Paul Dourish.
Further teps: After testing the board in the closed and secure realm of the University, the next step is to see how people, especially kids will interact with the board. This approach focuses on several tasks. First we will examine how people interact while using two boards at the same time, meaning interacting with each other while interacting with the device. A simple test will be done at the University for a day to discover any potential technical problems in a space where we can easily fix it, before taking the next step. Second we will use the boards in several public spaces in Cairo with a highly diverse social background (e.g. private schools, sports clubs, malls etc. as well as public spots in rather poor areas like Darb El Ahmar) in order to find out if there are any demographical or in using a device like this. As a final step cross cultural investigations are planned.