NoiseBear: A Malleable Wireless Controller Designed In Participation with Disabled Children

Grierson, Mick and Kiefer, Chris

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

NoiseBear is a wireless malleable controller designed for, and in participationwith, physically and cognitively disabled children. The aim of the project wasto produce a musical controller that was robust, and flexible enough to be usedin a wide range of interactive scenarios in participatory design workshops. NoiseBear demonstrates an open ended system for designing wireless malleablecontrollers in different shapes. It uses pressure sensitive material made fromconductive thread and polyester cushion stuffing, to give the feel of a softtoy. The sensor networks with other devices using the Bluetooth Low Energyprotocol, running on a BlueGiga BLE112 chip. This contains an embedded 8051processor which manages the sensor. NoiseBear has undergone an initialformative evaluation in a workshop session with four autistic children, andcontinues to evolve in series of participatory design workshops. The evaluationshowed that controller could be engaging for the children to use, andhighlighted some technical limitations of the design. Solutions to theselimitations are discussed, along with plans for future design iterations.