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Project Spotlight 2015

What a year! We caught a glimpse of over 100 projects come to life with Electric Paint and the Touch Board, thanks to your blogging, tweeting and sharing. We published 28 community tutorials on our MAKE page, and featured 13 articles and interviews with designers on our NEWS page – sharing some of the most sophisticated uses of our materials to date.

Today we’re shining the spotlight on some big moments in our year. These projects accomplished some amazing things – from developing a customisable expressive digital interface, to making life size painted MIDI controllers. Read on to see why we’ve put them in the spotlight and what to expect from their makers next.

Polyphonic Playground | Sensing Environments 

One of the highlights of the year was Studio PSK’s  Polyphonic Playground. This installation uses capacitive sensing to manipulate sound and trigger lighting effects as visitors interact with the structure. It’s creators at Studio PSK overcame many of the obstacles associated with producing large scale sensors and applied Electric Paint with both technical and aesthetic precision. The installation invites participants to play and interact with the piece, either by simply touching the sensors with a hand, climbing the frame or swinging on the canvas seats.  

Don’t worry if you missed the playground in Milan and London last year, it will be returning this February to be installed at the House of Vans, Waterloo, for a fresh audience to enjoy – make sure you catch it this time round.

Liquid MIDI | Musical Interface 

By printing Electric Paint onto fabric, designers at EJ Tech produced possibly the most unusual and eye-catching digital interface of 2015. Liquid MIDI was a great exploration into building soft and flexible controllers, and using Electric Paint with a silk screen to print intricate graphic sensors.

The design studio has since got their hands on some puff ink and mixed it with Electric Paint, resulting in something equally amazing.

Red Bull Synaesthesia | Unexpected Interactions

Ever seen a life-sized portrait produce music? Thomas Evans blew us away when he concealed Touch Board sensors in his paintings for an awesome live show. By combining the worlds of fine art and music he produced something truly unique and surprising – just watch the reaction of the audience in this video for proof.

Thomas is also king of handy tips for using Electric Paint and has loads of advice on his website for artists just starting out.

Programming Expression | Interface Customisation

2015 was also the year designer and musician Vahakn Matossian from Human Instruments built the first fully customisable expressive digital instrument using the Touch Board. The instrument uses both touch and breath sensors to empower people with limited motor skills to create expressive tunes. The instrument travelled to some exciting events in 2015, including Cypsy California, MTF Scandi in Sweden, MTF Central in Slovenia, ICT 2015 in Lisbon, Internet Festival Pisa and Sonar Festival Barcelona, where it was greatly received.

We asked Vahakn where the project was at now:

Right now we’re having a composer inspect and study our instruments. They will have their first dedicated score written for them, to be performed at a music festival in Setubal, Portugal in May 2016. We’ve also taken an order to create a version for one of our funders, who has a number of disabilities and is keen to become a musician. The creation process from this project in particular has informed the way we are currently designing and testing our more long term projects, so watch this space!