NoiseBear is a wireless malleable controller designed for, and in participation with, physically and cognitively dis- abled children. The aim of the project was to produce a musical controller that was robust, and flexible enough to be used in a wide range of interactive scenarios in participatory design workshops. NoiseBear demonstrates an open ended system for designing wireless malleable controllers in different shapes. It uses pressure sensitive material made from conductive thread and polyester cushion stuffing, to give the feel of a soft toy. The sensor networks with other devices using the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol, running on a BlueGiga BLE112 chip. This contains an embedded 8051 processor which manages the sensor. NoiseBear has undergone an initial formative evaluation in workshop sessions with four autistic children, and continues to evolve in series of participatory design workshops. The evaluation showed that controller could be engaging for the children to use, and highlighted some technical limitations of the design. Solutions to these limitations are discussed, along with plans for future design iterations.

Credits: Grierson and Kiefer 2013


Grierson, Mick and Kiefer, Chris (2013) NoiseBear: a wireless malleable instrument designed in participation with disabled children. In: 13th International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, 27 May 2013, Daejon, South Korea. [pdf]

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