Andras
(Sly)
Szalai

Hacker,
Designer,
Curious


Work About

Mobile Jam

Idea

Even with those poor quality speakers, it’s quite common to see group of teenagers, listening to music on their mobile phone. Sometimes they also sing, other times they dance to the ringtone. Using the mobile device as an mp3 player is not a new thing.

The main goal of our project was to make these groups of youngsters use their mobile phones as an istrument to compose their own music. Instead of the passive listening experience, they could be create their own musical content in real time.

Instrument

We connected a mobile phone to the computer as a remote controller, and we were experimenting with different interfaces. We were lookin for a solution, where the result can be created and changed in nearly real time, but it’s still easy to learn and use. A tracker is not real time enough, a sequencer is too complex.

The final instrument we came up with is a loop machine controlled with 4 mobile phones. All the 4 phones have different sound samples to use, so that the users have to be at least 2 of them to create something valuable.

Experience

To make things more fun, we connected the result to a hue loudspeaker, and gave it children to play with it.

Mobile Jam was submitted to NIME 2008 and was exhibited in the Internet Exhibition in Millenaris Park for 3 months.

Technology

Technologies include Bluetooth, J2ME, Pure Data, SuperCollider, Animata and Unix System Programming. We were using PureData as a prototyping environment on the computer side, and a simple J2ME application to send button events to the computer via bluetooth. The computer is constantly searching for mobile phones with bluetooth enabled, and trying to connect them. If one of the users leave, this way an other one can join, so that the music never ends.