“Biomimi Cry“ specific seminar

L'Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique


from February 19, 2020,
to September 26, 2020


Tangible interfaces

The project

Woodland is a musical instrument adapted for people with motor disabilities, it was inspired by the electronic pad and nature.

Inspired by nature

Biomimicry is a way of conceptualizing elements by drawing inspiration from the processes implemented by nature.
Lurking in the shadows of the forests, microorganisms with complex networks hide under our feet. Woodland is inspired by forest mushrooms and mycorrhizae’s network to rethink the electronic PAD.

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Ergonomic Design for everyone

It targets musicians with motor disabilities and aims to enhance their electronic PAD experience. 
The goal of our musical instrument is to improve the feeling of control of the game through haptic feedback and mapping. The different inclinations of the mushroom offer better control of the melody, while the hat shape allows an optimal grip.
The different textures and the mapping offer haptic and visual feedback, thus bringing this experience to the status of multi-sensory.

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Context & Team Work

This project started in February 2020 (during my first year of master’s degree) and finished in September 2020 (during my second year of master’s degree) as part of a specific seminar called Biomimi Cry. The goal of this project was to design a musical inclusive instrument, adapted to a musician with motor disabilities. This project is in partnership with L’I.E.M La Marière, a center where adapted activities such as music are open to people with disabilities, and the Nantes’ Natural History Museum.
It was teamwork of 4 people.
Violaine Claron was charged with the ergonomic, product design, and modeling. Margaux Bonnet was in charge of the sound design (on SunVox), the ergonomic, and brand design. Thibault Saboureau was in charge of the motion design and the mapping (on TouchDesigner). And I was responsible for the interaction design, programming (on Processing and Arduino), and brand design.
We started the project with an observation time. We went to a music entertainment with disabled musicians. We could observe and ask questions about how they adapted their instruments such as the guitar, the piano, or the pad. 
During interviews, we found that the main problem with these musical instruments was that, even if they used it in a way that is more comfortable for them, it did not give them an optimal experience. They do not have real control over the melody.
Our instrument was designed to provide a better grip on the instrument and the melody so that they can play music.
From conception to modeling, most of the iteration phase was devoted to ergonomic, user testing, and the final visual set up.  


The mushroom’ shape

Thanks to its particular shape, Woodland allows the musician to grab the mushrooms in many different ways that are much comfortable for him. The user can put his hand encompassing the mushroom hat; he can give more or less random blows or even hold mushroom by his foot.
The instrument is composed of 2 interactive mushrooms and a projection support representing five white mushrooms.

For different universe

The first interactive mushroom, the pointest is the Master mushroom. It allows controlling of 4 sound universes. Using the Master mushroom, the musicians can switch between four different universes, changing the instrument played and the visual feedback.

Wisely chosen notes

The second interactive mushroom, the curviest is the musician mushroom. It uses eight notes. These notes are the same as the one on a hand drum, an instrument that never makes false notes. The notes can be played one by one if the hand comes back to the center, or the notes can be combined such as a chord if the hand turns around without coming back to the center.

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The demonstration video

What I learned in this project

This project allowed me to work on an inclusive approach. Working on motor disability is a source of inspiration for better innovations. These people interact differently with their environment, why not take inspiration from their experience to improve everyone's experience as well.
This project also allowed me to work on a tangible product design and with a sound approach.

Our project, WOODLAND, has been shortlisted for the 2021 IxDA Interaction Awards. It is eligible for the People's Choice Awards! This inclusive design project deserves to be promoted widely. If you vote for WOODLAND, we have a chance to be broadcasted worldwide live, during the Interaction Awards ceremony (Feb 5, 2021, 7 pm ET).