The Ambient Comforter is a musical interaction blanket.
According to the users interaction with it, ambient harmonic sounds are produced to create a comfortable and serene atmosphere. This helps the user to overcome the daily level of stress and when it is used as a regular ritual, it can calm the mind from troubling thoughts, emotional tension or even anxiety.
This project was created as part of an interaction course at the University of Applied Sciences HTW Berlin.
It was a collaboration between industrial design and communication design students.
During the research on different psychological issues, we found out, that many young people suffer from social pressure and emotional distance. This circumstance defined the target group. To narrow the focus we interviewed many people on their ways to cope with daily stress. Moreover, we tested their musical and sound preferences.
The embroidered circles are the interactive elements: every one has its own voice within a musical theme. The more the user interacts with it, the more parts of the theme are unveiled. Until the whole musical picture in all of its aspects is explored.
The interaction of the user is measured with the help of an embroidered capacitive touch sensor (MPR121) that is connected with the Arduino board. Afterward, the Arduino transfers the measured values to Processing which in turn communicates with a loudspeaker that creates the final output.
These components are attached to the meshwork. By that reason, all the elements can be efficiently reproduced, repaired and completed with a low-cost budget.
Each embroidered circle on the blanket stands for one musical track. As soon as the user touches one of the circles, the corresponding track fades in. The longer the touch, the longer it takes until the music fades out if the user removes the hand. The tempo is around 60 bpm because this measure releases alpha brainwaves that put our brain into a relaxed state.
Also, several tracks are short melodies that are repeating themselves. This makes the music predictable and relaxing. The whole piece itself takes about two minutes, but as it is constantly played in a loop, it is actually endless.
Dutch Design Week 2019
In Oktober 2019 the Ambient Comforter was presented at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (Netherlands). The participants could interact wit the Comforter and hear the music trough headphones.
Participants: Yulia Aster, Jiajia Ding, Clara Philippzig, Jacob „Nico“ Schuberth & Florian Uszmant
Supervisors: Prof. Pelin Celick, Romin Heide, Prof. Alexander Müller-Rakow
Additional help: Thu Thao Hausmann (Consulting), Lauren Steel (Sewing & Consulting)