Research Synthesis Design Solution

Brainstorming 03


03 Brainstorming

Based on ideas from our user research and key themes identified we began brainstorming concepts for our final design. The concepts we developed address the needs of a central showpiece, control in every room of the house, gesture-based access.


A central showpiece interface, glass beads suspended on tension wire controlled several continuous aspects of the music such as: tempo, beat, genre, instrumental, etc. These controls could also be used to control other aspects of the environment such as lighting, scent, and temperature for the total experience.

Crystals and Jenga

The crystal interface featured two aesthetic aspects that appealed to our target demographic: brushed glass and colored glow. In addition the jagged shapes suggested a rugged masculinity.

We also explored a Jenga interface. The block of glowing glass appealed to the coolness factor desire. The futuristic glow and interaction were intended to inspire envy in the users friends. Each glass block had electronic lines running through it suggesting that this interface was almost like a futuristic puzzle that only the owner could unlock.

Casino and automotive inspired

We wanted to incorporate into our design form factors that were appealing to our target demographic. Based on the media we explored we noticed that casino and automotive settings inspired a feeling of control.

The Orb

This central showpiece design was meant to address the appearance needs by appearing to be only a brushed glass sphere when inactive.

Fish Pond

To push the limits of the tangible interface for the home, we iterated with several different form factors. One of these was the fish pond, users could stroke the water of the pond to change songs or turn up or down the volume. For more direct interaction with the system users could physically grab one of the fish in the pond and interact with it, for example kissing the fish to indicate they liked the song that was currently playing.

Gesture-based control

Because easy access and control were important needs for this type of system, we explored the use of gesture based system control.

Glass panels / Wall

In the shopping visit portion of our user research we found that systems designed for young modern homes featured access in every room as well as a central showpiece. At the same time it was critical for the system to blend into the home and be seamless. To incorporate these features into our design we developed the idea of glass wall panels or glass speakers that would be present in every room and activated by touch. These panels would allow the user to control the system, but when not in use would become hidden or display music relevant images such as videos or cover art.

Taste blender business card holders

In our user needs research several participants discussed the issue of music for friends and guests. We wanted to explore the idea of sharing your music with your friends at their homes or taking your "taste" profile with you. Because business card holders are commonly used in our target demographic, and because we wanted ownership of our system to be a status symbol, we brainstormed the concept of a business card holder as the key to your personal system and your music tastes on a network.

Armband remote controls

Because of the need for easy access and control of the system from anywhere in the home we brainstormed different ways to attach the remote to the user, one of these being a wearable remote control that was an armband or ring. We had good success developing interactions for the ring concept, creating a ring with an inner moveable band that could be used to change songs or move the volume up and down.

Mr Potato Head Activity Based Music

In our needs research we found that users listened to different music based on what they were doing at the time. We wanted to create an interface that would allow them to easily express their activity to access the corresponding music. However the form factor was too juvenile, and other iterations did not appeal to the aesthetic of our target user group. Thus we focused on the mood aspect of activity selection.

Guest coaster remote controls

In thinking about guest control to the home-owner's system, we brainstormed the idea of having drink coasters double as remote controls to the system. These controllers would provide limited functionality allowing guests to only change the song or change the volume of the music in the room.


IID 2005 . Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University