Research: Skatesonic

Made by Lucy Tan

Take a look at media installations

Created: December 1st, 2015


Skatesonic Site

Skatesonic is a series of skateboards which are hooked up to various sensors which collect data such as speed, orientation, acceleration, and tilt. These skateboards then generate sounds based on this data, allowing for an interesting interplay between motion and sound. It was a collaboration between IDEO, Vivo Montalvo, and the ZeroOne San Jose Residency Commission for ISEA2006.

I selected this project because it made an unconventional item into an instrument. Together, several skaters in tandem can create complex songs and compositions. To play a piece requires precise choreography, but at the same time, it’s possible to simply skate as normal and generate an interesting soundscape as well.

Critiques I have about the project: it seems that they didn’t let the public have a try at these skateboards, or they didn't document what other people have done with it. While I understand the reasoning (there’s always the possibility of someone breaking something), I believe it would have generated some interesting results, rather than just performing a predetermined routine. I also think that the sounds are not particularly pleasant to listen to. There’s a lot of potential for the skateboards by just changing what instruments map where.

I will probably be using participant motion to change things in my project. In the interplay project, my group also did something interactive, though the results were unchanged by the participants’ actions. It would be neat to have some aspect of the installation change with motion data.  
Skatesonic II x WYfluence Skateboards