Today, we spent some time with the team behind the Skube to get the inside scoop on the new listening device that’s causing a buzz.
Who doesn’t love listening to their favorite music? Better yet, who doesn’t love sharing their favorite music– especially when it’s playing from a beautifully designed cube that’s slightly skewed? Enter the Skube.
Andrew Spitz, Andrew Nip, Ruben van der Vleuten, and Malthe Borch created the Skube as a way to rethink the audio experience as a project for the “Tangible User Interface” course at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. The team conducted interviews in people’s homes to see how they listen to music. Through that research, they saw an opportunity, especially in communal and shared spaces like dorms and living rooms. They wanted to make an impact on how people share music that lives on the cloud.
“It is a fully working prototype through the combination of using Arduino, Max/MSP and an XBee wireless network. We access the Last.fm API to populate the Skube with tracks and scrobble, and using their algorithms to find similar music when in Discover mode. Then using Applescript, we get Spotify to play the music. We use XBees for the wireless communication between the Skubes and to the computer using custom software that manages all this.”
Three fully working prototypes and a total of 5 Skubes later, the project has received recognition from a number of tech publications including:
“We were very happy with the Skube as a design piece, but we weren’t expecting it to be so received so well. Now that we have had time to reflect as to why, we think that it’s because of shift in digital music consumption, and people are keen on having something tangible again,” said Andrew Spitz.
The team hasn’t made a distinct decision on what’s next. They are an ambitious team, so as expected, they have a number projects going on. To pursue the Skube, they would have to give their other explorations much less time. Andrew Spitz explained that a great scenario would be to co-develop the Skube and the team would continue to lead its designer. As another option, the team is thinking about a Kickstarter campaign.
As for giving advice to other makers and interaction designers on making something that creates buzz, Andrew Spitz says, “Do it and move on and learn from that. Try again and try again. Build an intuition for what systems and technologies are popular.” Malthe Borch mentioned that he thinks part of the team’s successes stems from the fact that they each have different backgrounds and come from different cultures. It’s great to be multidisciplinary.”
Want to learn more about the Skube? Here’s everything you need to know. We’ll also continue to share updates about the Skube and if it will makes its way to the consumer market. Want to see other awesome XBee enabled projects? You can visit the XBee Project Gallery here.Arduino, Audio, Music, Project, xbee