Dial It Back: Final Project Proposal
Last updated: Nov 6, 2019
a potentiometer with a personality
At rest, the knob rotates on its own. It can be stopped and moved by a user.
To use the knob and motor, potentially with other elements, to design a satisfying and instructive interaction with a dial. Physical interfaces, whether we like it or not, have a personality to them. Being aware of this and designing with it in mind broadens the range of expression available to designers, and allows us to develop for a comfortable friction between user and interface.
- Potentially this high-resolution encoder.
- I will be fabricating a box and a knob, probably with wood and a laser cutter.
- There will need to be some sort of belted motor to move the knob on its own, and the knob will also need to be detached in such a way as to allow its own free movement. What kind of rubber belt or gearing system will keep the interaction feeling smooth and responsive, rather than with the resistance and crunch of a digital interface.
- I may want to try getting contact mics into the box—they are a really tiny precise way of getting sometimes very valuable input. This may provide a valuable opportunity for input and feedback but it might be outside the scope of what I want this project to do.
- If contact mics, then potentially a small speaker or surface transducer. I like the idea of the user tapping the box and the box tapping back but again, it may be better to focus where possible.
I have more research to do on knobs and how they might be geared to smooth and slow resistance? What are the top knobs today? What techniques do they use to produce pleasant or well-tuned knobs?
The intention of the controller is to demonstrate the range of interaction and communication possible with this configuration of parts and then to begin to explore possible uses for the mode of control it affords the user. (One option that immediately comes to mind is granular/tape-like movement through a sound file along the same lines as my midterm project).