BD6TOUCH - MUSIC SYSTEM
BD6touch is a minimalist wooden music player that invites tactile user interaction through a series of wooden blocks. Each user programmable block when placed on the unit, can summon hundreds of songs from local files, network files, internet radio stations or spotify playlists. BD6touch seeks to recapture the tactile charm of vinyl records with the modern convenience of internet connected music streaming and digital storage.
BD6touch is a minimalist wooden music player that invites a tactile user experience through a series of interactive wooden blocks. Seeking to recapture the tactile charm of vinyl records, placing a block on the player reveals the music contained within, while lifting and replacing the block changes tracks akin to the action of a record needle. Up to twelve programmable blocks can summon any number of music tracks from local files, network files, internet radio stations or Spotify playlists. With the convenience of internet music streaming and ability to play high definition lossless audio, BD6touch can satisfy our modern music demands in a simple and intuitive way.
After designing a simple wooden ‘smart’ music player for people experiencing dementia, I wanted to explore the process of interface simplification further while adapting a player to my own music listening habits. In reflecting on music experiences over the decades I lamented the loss of an intuitive physical medium and sought to recapture its cognitive simplicity. The single visible control on the BD6touch is a wooden volume knob that also functions as ‘pause’ when turned to zero volume. Feedback is provided by a circle of twelve diffused LED lights forming part of the surface. Functions are indicated by patterns of light, while the volume level is represented by the number of lights present. Music is selected by placing a chosen block within the centre of the LED circle, while a block is present music will continue to play, lifting and replacing the block will change tracks.
The enclosure is constructed from thirteen stacked layers of laser cut plywood, nine of which are unique and serve different functional purposes. The first few layers form an inner web like structure adding rigidity where needed, but ultimately maximising the internal volume to aid speaker performance. Undulating interior walls form a wave pattern which provides rigidity without bulk and reduces undesirable internal acoustic reflections. The four exposed oak fixing dowels and CNC routed oak feet and volume knob provide a visual contrast to break up the plywood repetition.
Australian wood forms the majority of the BD6touch as a natural, renewable and aesthetically pleasing resource. The plantation grown hoop pine plywood with FSC / PEFC certification and E0 formaldehyde emission rating is sourced from a local manufacturer who focuses on waste minimisation and responsible chain of custody. The music blocks, volume knob, feet, and fixing dowels are made from sustainably managed Tasmanian oak with PEFC certification. The speaker fabric is collected from old manufacturer samples and offcuts, reusing an otherwise wasted resource. Natural carnauba and beeswax provide a silky smooth hand rubbed finish as an alternative to more toxic polyurethanes and varnishes. The internal electronic scaffolding is made from PLA, a biodegradable sugarcane based polymer. To conserve power, a compact, energy-efficient, low distortion digital amplifier forms the basis of the player and is powered down during pause or after ten minutes of inactivity. The programmable blocks are endlessly reusable, eliminating the on-going waste and clutter that accompanied traditional mediums.
- DATE- Oct, 2016
- SOFTWARE-Solidworks, Illustrator, programming (C & Python)
- HARDWARE- Laser cutter, CNC router, 3D printer, electronics
- AWARDS- Dangerous Designs prize winner
There is one visible control on the system which adjusts the volume when turned (zero volume to pause) and enables random play when pressed. The music is selected by choosing a user programmable block and placing it within the center of the the LED circle, hundreds of local songs, spotify songs or internet radio stations can be accessed with each block. Changing tracks or stations within a particular block is as simple as raising the block and placing it back down (like a record needle).
- SPEAKER– 6.5” 2-way linear drive with horn tweeter, designed in Japan. Response 28Hz – 70kHz.
- AMPLIFIER–100W low noise digital amplifier (<0.03% THD @ 1W, >100db SNR), signal bandwidth up to 80kHz.
- DAC– Supports 16 – 24bit audio, 354kHz sampling rate, 112db dynamic range.
- PROCESSOR–Quad core 1GHZ, USB x 1, Ethernet & WIFI connectivity.
- FORMATS–Local USB mp3, flac, wav up to 24bit, 354kHz; Network music UPnP; Internet radio; Spotify premium playlists.
- ENCLOSURE–Australian plantation grown hoop pine plywood with FSC and PEFC certification and E0 formaldehyde emission rating. Australian plantation grown Tasmanian oak with PEFC certification.
The enclosure is constructed from 13 layers of laser cut hoop pine plywood (9 unique layers) with the interior walls forming a rippling wave pattern to reduce internal acoustic reflections. The volume knob and feet are CNC machined from Tasmanian oak, with 4 oak dowels aiding the layer construction construction. The music blocks are also made from Tasmanian oak with laser etched patterns and internal weighting to enhance user experience. The surface is sanded down to 2000 grit with a final coating of carnauba and beeswax.
Australian wood forms the majority of the BD6touch as a natural, renewable and aesthetically pleasing resource. The plantation grown hoop pine plywood with FSC / PEFC certification and E0 formaldehyde emission rating is sourced from a local manufacturer with a focus on waste minimisation and responsible chain of custody. The music blocks, volume knob, feet, and fixing dowels are made from sustainably managed Tasmanian oak with PEFC certification. The speaker fabric is sourced from manufacturer offcuts, reusing an otherwise wasted resource. Natural carnauba and beeswax provide a silky smooth hand rubbed surface finish as an alternative to polyurethane.