Michael Wolf


A tangible interface that enables children to record, modify and arrange sound samples in a playful way

A tangible sound interface

A tangible sound interface


Media Files


Soundgarten consists of mushroom-formed items that represent sound samples. There are small flower- and leave-shaped attributes, which can be plugged onto the »mushroom« to modify the sound. A radio-wave microphone embedded in a shuffle-shaped device can record sound samples when a special recording mushroom is plugged into it. Last but not least, the »flower-patch«, i.e. the central part of Soundgarten, allows the sounds to be activated and arranged.

The Soundgarten interface works in combination with software that runs on any standard personal computer. Via a wireless data connection the PC works completely detached from the interface itself and thus remains invisible to the user. According to the concept of invisible and embedded computing, the userís attention is centred on the interaction space and not on the technical details.

Compared to common graphical sound software interfaces, the principle of Soundgarten offers significant advantages:
It involves haptic-tactile senses and spatial reasoning, taking advantage of basic human skills and therefore enables children, Illiterates or handicapped to make use of new electronic and digital technology. Contrary to WIMP (Windows Icons Menu Pointer) Interfaces Soundgarten allows multi user activity.

The target audience is 3 to 8 year-olds, the recommended age for beginning a childís musical education.

Artists / Authors



Germany, 2002

Partners / Sponsors

MARS - Exploratory Media Lab
Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication

KISD - Köln International School of Design


» http://www.soundgarten.com


Michael Wolf, Feb 14, 2003



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