Nod Bang: An Exercise

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nodbang ixd intro to pcomp itpnyu

After my first couple weeks at ITP, I’ve came up with an idea that I’m planning to use as an exercise to apply the ideas and concepts from my interaction and physical computing classes.

Nod Bang

The Nod Bang is a sort of musical performance toy. I don’t expect the experience to entertain an adult for more than a couple of minutes.

It’s based off the experience of using groovebox music production devices like an Akai MPC and digital DJ controllers.


Physical Components

There are a two main parts:

  1. A box with four arcade buttons, each with an RGB LED behind it
  2. Headphones with an accelerator attached / embedded
  3. A hidden laptop

There will be an Arduino inside the box to control the LED’s, read sensor values, and receive any data from the laptop.

Experience Design

  • The system the hardware interacts with is a four track, step sequencer.
  • Each track is independent of the others.
  • Each button maps to a particular track
  • Pressing a button triggers the first step of that sequence
  • Holding a button release a gate for the rest of the sequence
  • Nodding with the headphones on progresses the step sequencer, there is no clock. The clock is the head nodding
  • Releasing the button resets the track’s sequence position to the beginning

The button lights will throb white for each recognized nod, and turn colored when the button is held down.


I’m planning on using a combination of Arduino and Max, but currently unsure what will happen where.

My initial concerns are:

  • organizing the tracks to make the output as musical as possible
  • correctly interpreting the accelerometer data to recognizing head nods

Next Steps, Plausibility Prototypes

I’m not sure whether this is really possible with the combination of technologies I’ve selected, so I’m going to try making rough sketches and prototypes to demonstrate the basic interactions.