Interaction & Sound

Lau Futtrup Rasmussen
19 Jun 2013
Water is beautiful. Both its aestethic values and the fact that water is the key source of life fascinates me. In my first concept I used water as an electric conductor. The water connected two wires, by dripping on them. The result was a set of plexiglass encapsulated “water beatboxes” - each telling a story about water.
Experimenting with reflections and colors in water.
This example is a visual and auditive interpretation of water polution in the Copenhagen harbours. On the surface the water seems clean, but the bottom tells the story of a seabed polluted by “heavy metals” through many years.This pollution never disappears.
A windmill that uses wind speed to control the tempo of a soundtrack.For this I used granular synthesis and timestretch techniques.
The windmill was placed on various locations throughout Copenhagen. Its purpose is merely to remind us of our surroundings. The feeling of the wind, combined with the auditive experience of altered time and the visual feedback from the windmill itself, created an experience where multiple senses were activated.
A windmill-park creating a more spatial soundscape.
These children where very amazed that the windmill could even turn around, even though they had smartphones and tablets in their pockets. This confirmed some of my theories, and inspired me for my final concept.
Imagine the dramatic effect of a piece of music, completely changing character as the weather changes or imagine a concert where audience behaviour has a direct impact on the auditive experience.This instument is aware of it’s surroundings, though a selection of sensors.It can be used by musicians, artists or producers to add a sense of “controlled randomness” to musical compositions, or it can be used as a standalone installation. It connects to most software and hardware synthesizers through MIDI.
Closeup's of the sensors. 1: Humidity Sensor 2: Particle Density Sensor 3: Ultra Sonic Range Finder 4: Air Pressure Sensor 5: Soundpeak Sensor 6: Light sensor 7: Temperature sensor
A graph showing the measurements of the instrument over a 2 hour timespan.The graph clearly shows the dynamics of the instruments' surroundings and how it could have a quite dramatic effect on music.
Video of the "Water beatbox" in action
Video of the windmill in action. The sound is live, but plugged directly into the camera.
Early prototype of the instrument, using only the light sensor.
Instrument in action. The sound is live, but plugged directly into the camera.
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In my diploma project I have attempted to create magical sound experiences by combining the physical and digital worlds.

In this presentation I will show my different concepts, and the final design solution. Videos for each part are embedded in the bottom.

“Like so many clichéd phrases the paper-free life is both impossible and uninteresting. People still want attractive, meaningful objects— whether these take the form of a memorable photo mounted on a wall, a handwritten note, or an LP that you have to take off the shelf to listen to, these material goods will stay with us.”

- Nicolas Bordas - 2013

As the world becomes more and more digital, it seems that our joy of “the analogue” becomes greater and greater.

Even though our smartphones take sharp, crisp - almost perfect photos, we distort them with old-school filters in apps like “in- stagram”, as an attempt to add a sense of history and nostalgia.

In the past 10 years the sale of vinyl records has multiplied by 5. How come a media-format, no doubt more impractical than the CD and Mp3, has had such a massive comeback? Why is it that my generation, who didn’t even grow up with LP’s, have taken over our parents’ collections and even started our own? To me it’s about the extra time the LP requires of me. I am forced to relate to it as a physical object. I have to turn it halfways and it breaks easily. The sound it plays represents more than the music on it - it represents time, through dust and scratches gathered in its life time. This makes the experience of listening to an LP unique. In theory it never sounds the same.

In a time where human interaction has become increasingly digital, I find comfort in these small coincidences. They remind me that I am human, that I can think, laugh and cry. I am alive. My computer is “either or” - “0 or 1”.

More Youtube videos:


Sound input sensor:
Range finder:
Light sensor:
Humidity sensor:
Particle density sensor:


Water beatbox prototype:
Dr. Dre windmill:


Processing, Pure Data


Arduino Mega, Raspberry pi 2. edition


Barometric Pressure Sensor - BMP085 Breakout Retail

Optical Dust Sensor - GP2Y1010AU0F

Humidity sensor - HH10D

Digital Temperature Sensor Breakout - TMP102

Ultrasonic Range Finder - Maxbotix LV-EZ0

Breakout Board for Electret Microphone


Feel free to contact me for code examples. :)