Tune Table

Tune Table was a multi-touch interactive installation designed in conjunction with BBC Research and installed in the Sage Gateshead during BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival of Ideas in 2010. It was a way of introducing tangible and collaborative control to the live audio domain, allowing users to assume the role of music producers by letting them alter the sound of a looped piece of music. It consisted of a large circular table with instruments represented by graphical icons around the edge. Plastic tangibles, placed on lines from the icons of the instruments to the output, represent individual effects, such as gain, reverb and compression. By twisting the tangibles, users were able to alter these effects and the sounds they produced.

Tune Table worked by emitting diffused infrared light through the surface of the table. Specially-designed patterns printed on the underside of the plastic tangibles reflected the light, which was then received by a camera mounted below the table surface that recognised the unique patterns and calculated their position and rotation. A projector underneath the table was used to create visual feedback for the users.