Playable Solar System is an interactive data sonification / visualisation project, using Arduino, conductive textiles and conductive paint.
Standard maps of our solar system don’t really communicate the vast distance between the planets (particularly the outer planets) , and how much of space is…just empty space. The maps we normally see show the Sun and planets as being roughly the same size, equally spaced apart from each other. But in reality, the Sun is much much bigger than any of the planets, and the outer planets are spaced much further apart than the inner planets.
Playable Solar System is a textile map of the solar system that plays a musical scale when each planet is touched. The notes of the scale were mapped to the distance between the planets (i.e. the Sun was the lowest note on the scale, and Neptune the highest), communicating the distance between the planets through sound. LEDs placed behind each planet also lit up when the planet was touched, with the colour of the LED also mapped to the planet’s distance from the Sun (the Sun being red, and Neptune violet).
At the heart of this project was a Bare Conductive Touch Board - an Arduino board with on-board capacitive touch and midi chips. Conductive paint, conductive thread, wire, fabric, and a recycled picture frame were also used to make this project.
Playable Solar System was made for Irish music festival Electric Picnic in 2015. It also made an appearance at Science Gallery Dublin late event 'Dark Secrets', as well as in MAKESHOP on Dublin Culture Night.