Space Jam: An Interactive Manipulation of Public Space Through Sound

Lonely Spaces

Many public spaces in our urban environments lack liveliness, and do not bolster interaction between people previously unacquainted.  With this project, our intent is to improve this potential for interaction through the amplification of connections.

Amplify Connections

With the use of music actuated as a background track via the presence of occupants, the space will utilize triggered samples matching the background track to give users the ability to add to the song, creating an additive composition of music, interaction, and whimsy.

Typology of Vibes


By collecting current weather information, we have designed our system to select a background track based on predetermined weather typologies reflecting the vibe of the day.  

Weather Typologies

This begins the experience, and also selects the array of additive samples to be triggered by occupants as they move through the space.  Using triggers within the paving field that are unlabeled initially evokes a sense of singular experience within the user.  With repeated movement through the space, however, users gain the opportunity to learn of their control over the stimulus.  This allows them to begin participating in many ways, both facilitated with other users, or as individual agents.

Parts Diagram 2

The system as a whole is activated through the use of a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR), which detects when any person enters the space.  This triggers a collection of weather data from the weather shield integrated with the Arduino microcontroller.   The attributes of weather, humidity, light level, and barometric pressure, are compiled and converted to a binary signal to be used by our Processing code, which controls the music bank selection and playback.

Within the paving field, high sensitivity piezo film sensors detect the movement of users and send analog signals to the Arduino.  Using a sensitivity threshold within the Arduino code, the signal is sent to the Processing program as a cue to activate samples.  Having the sample bank already selected based on the weather information, these additive music samples match the background track in tone and feeling.  This leaves their timing to be controlled by the occupants, thus giving them control.


In the testing of our prototype, we took short videos of multiple stages of the system to demonstrate them as separate functions.  We used the simplified versions of these functions to test them, and then accumulated them into a full system.  Due to unpredictability of low quality piezo disks, the demonstration utilized buttons to convey intent of concept.  Videos of two weather typology sound banks are below:

Group Members:

Kevin Lenhart

Erica Nagy

Mariel Steiner

Patrick Webb

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