Draudibubble

An interactive installation for making digital art via ephemeral input.

For my final project in Making Things Interact I wanted to focus on delight as my primary design goal. My secondary interest was systems with indirect input, where chance and hope played a role in what the system produces. All of these ideas are bound up in the concept of serendipity:

Draudibubble allows participants to create artwork by blowing soap bubbles and making noise. The goal is to delight and amuse participants with the serendipitous and uncontrollable relationship between their actions and the drawings produced.

The Drawings

I've created a composite of all of the drawings, displayed here, in order to see the progression that occured throughout demo day.

See all of the individual drawings.

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In Use

On Making Things Interact Demo Day. Note how many times the little girl presses the black – save and upload – button.

Testing the final prototype in the grad studio.

How it works

Controlled via a C++ openFrameworks application, Draudibubble uses a webcam to “see” bubbles using frame differencing. The locations and size of the bubbles are then drawn onto a virtual canvas as colored dots. Audio input, taken in by a microphone, is processed to determine the level of noise in the immediate vicinity of the Draudibubble apparatus. The noise level is used to determine the color of the dots drawn. A projector shows the drawing in progress, at the bottom of the apparatus. Two physical push buttons protrude from the top of the Draudibubble apparatus. The red button allows users to clear their drawings and start a new canvas. The black button allows users to save and upload the current drawing to this website.

Initially, the project had placed participants at a remove from what the system drew, allowing only minor influence on the outcome through body movement. It became apparent very quickly that this simply wasn't fun. Participants didn't feel like participants at all, but like viewers passively watching the system act on its own.

Further prototyping revealed that participants really enjoyed blowing the bubbles themselves, leading to the final design. The display is positioned so that bubble blowers can see their drawing as it happens. The appratus itself encourages intimate encounters between strangers as they must look into the "bubble well" to see the drawing take shape.

What I Did

Concept generation, prototyping, and refinement. Main apparatus programmed using openFrameworks. Physical controls implemented using Arduino board and software. Composite of drawings created with Processing. Built physical self-contained apparatus.

Special Thanks to

Project Details