Lexus - Amazing Sound Experience08 Sep 2016
Limulo, in collaboration with Special Glue, has developed an interactive installation for the promotion of the new Lexus RC Hybrid car model by Toyota Italia.
The main goal of the installation was to convey a sense of involvement, easiness and naruralness in association with the experience of testing the new car. We focused on three levels of interaction: proximity, touch of the car body and interaction with elements inside the car itself.
The first thing we paid attention to has been to make our intervention on the car the least invasive it could be, while maintaining the user exeperience pleasant and effective. During the developement stage we, as Limulo, designed the technical elements and Fabio Senna, music composer and producer, designed the sounds. The technical and artistic elements have been developed together, in order to obtain a consistent and neat result.
After a preliminary research phase, we’ve been able to implement a complete system to sensor and control the car. We tried to focus the user attention on the strong points of the car (luckily, on of those was the audio system Mark Levinson)
The installation took place at the Temporary Store in Gae Aultenti square in Milan, during a three-day cultural exhibition.
We managed the whole installation with an Arduino Mega. A software, based on PureData received and organised signals from various sensors. The final stream of data reached an audio software (Ableton Live) in MIDI messages format. We previously mapped the signals in Ableton, so that every sensor corresponded to a particular sound, generating a real time orchestration.
We used ultrasonic sensors placed all around the car to obtain the proximity sensing. We designed a reading pattern to avoid false positive and interfering readings, maintaining at the same time a high speed response, fundamental in real time interactions.
The touch exeprience has been achieved using piezoelectric sensors attached underneath the car body and using its vibrations as sound sources or as triggers. The user underwent a peculiar point of view about the car. The attention is held by the shapes and the materials of the car body; a common gesture, like the touch, gave rise to an uncommon and enjoyable imprint.
The steering wheel and the gear lever were responsive to touch. We used a capacitive sensor that rendered the experience very natural. The entrance in the cockpit and the opening of the trunk are hailed by a sound interaction. Here we used Hall effect sensors and an accelerometer.
The big challenge has been to harmonize all the sensing stages, granting the most intercative point we could, keeping the system higly responsive without interfering with the car appearance.