rHIFId Speakers

Mixing music in physical space

Demo of the RHIFID speakers developed at CIID. Using a combination of RFID technology, Processing and Arduino, the speakers work as location aware controllers, allowing the user to interact with music and the environment by moving the speakers around.

The RHIFID speakers were used for the project “This is a Journey into Sound” - an educational trip into the history of electronica, rock and hip hop from the past 50 years. A grid is mapped out using RFID tags (the red things on the floor), allowing each user of the two speakers to listen to a song individually, within a specific genre and decade by placing it on the RFID tag. Each RFID is mapped to a song iconic of that decade in the appropriate genre. Through play and experimentation, users could not only listen to the music but mix two tracks together - sometimes with unexpected results.

Putting the two speakers together triggers the speakers into playing one common song, creating a social listening experience. The RHIFID speakers can also be modified into musical creators rather than just controllers, allowing location and rotation to control such things as pitch, samples and effects.

Providing more than two speakers in this setup can spark an entire set of creative events during which collaboration and interaction can bring people to a completely new level of experiencing music.

The speakers were developed by Jacek Barcikowski, Filippo Cuttica and myself and were featured in a number of publications; amongst them Dezeen, Designboom, Neural.it, Creativeapplications.com and PSFK. Bruce Sterling even linked to them, which made the entire team probably way too excited