As part of a Tangible User Interfaces course at the University of Calgary, Justin Quaintance and I created a tangible experience for exploring chord progressions using the Raspberry Pi with Camera Module and Lego.

Lock your colors and load them in! Color Chords is a new, physical way, for all ages to create and explore chord progressions. Build your chord progression out of different color cubes and slide it through the magic black box of sound to hear its brick-based tune. Our starter pack comes with three foundational building blocks of sound, mapped to the popular chord progression:

RED Gmaj7        GREEN D7        BLUE Amin7

Instructions for Use

  1. Find a flashlight and direct its light through the back hole on the top of the box. This makes sure the camera has enough light to see your tune.
  2. Create your song by connecting the color cubes together. For comfortable use, we recommend connecting at least four cubes together.
  3. Start the program on your computer and slide the cubes back and forth in the black box!

The black shade of the box minimizes camera confusion by absorbing the colors of unwanted light. While this version of Color Chords can detect red, green, and blue cubes, in the future we hope to add more colors to the project for even more chord exploration. RGB colors worked the best for this initial version as our algorithm simply takes the max average pixel value in each frame and decides to play a respective chord.

Leave a Reply