lego sound sequencer

Katherine Wu

Program the sounds of your everyday world into Lego blocks.<br />



The idea behind this toy was inspired by Seymour Papert's thoughts on learning programming in the 1960s. One of his most powerful ideas for me was that objects in our physical world are embedded with concepts about math, programming, and logic.

Legos are well known as good primers to math thinking , even programming. Each block is a discrete modules that contain information: color, size. In this toy, people can shuffle blocks on a board, and a speaker plays different sounds depending on the color of the block.

People can also “program” their own sounds into Lego colors, by pushing buttons on the dashboard. Instead of computery, sine wave sounds, I thought about how fun and open it feels to play with your voice, and your surroundings as a kid. Through found sounds, this makes physical what kids naturally do already: find patterns in sounds–even words– and in those patterns, music.

How does it work? It is important to me that this is an open system, where you don't need special bricks to play. There is no circuitry in the bricks or even on the board itself. A webcam reads the image of the board, and using p5.js graphic functions, the computer can discern discrete shades of red, yellow, green, blue. In the future version, you can even record your own colors for new bricks to play.


Introduction to Physical Computing