On A High Note
On a High Note is an interactive experience that would take place at the Frost Science Museum. Merging music, neuroscience and technology, the experience explains how the brain perceives music. The experience begins as attendees are immersed in a hands-on learning environment, exploring how the brain works and reacts to music. After being introduced to the brain and music, attendees transition into a planetarium where they each receive a heart rate monitor. Using EEG technology, a 360 projection will display a volunteer’s brain reacting to live music from the New World symphony. Data collected from the audience’s heart rate monitors will be projected in the planetarium as a second layer of visualization. When the experience comes to an end, the audience will have the chance to view and compare data retrieved from their heart rate monitors as a tangible representation of the data collected.
Create an experience for the Frost Science Museum planetarium that provides a visual representation of how the brain perceives music
User experience designer
This was a class project
Our process for this project began with research. We conducted both secondary and primary research, learning about the brain, senses, videography and music. The second step in our process was idea generation. In this phase we explored the possibilities of what our project could be, sketching ideas and brainstorming in groups. After deciding on a path for the project we experimented, testing our theories, expanding and adapting our initial concept for the experience. In the final step of our process we began creating content for the project.
Moving forward with our project we began the process of ideation. Breaking into groups we brainstormed different ideas, allowing us to quickly generate multiple concepts for the experience. When each group found an idea they believed in, we came together and pitched them to each other. Discussing our ideas as a team allowed us to combine different elements into one concept.
After deciding on an idea we began experimenting. We built an EEG headset and coded a program to test our theory. By testing with the EEG we hoped to discover exactly what information we could collect from the brain. Using an Open BCI EEG we were able to gather data from musicians and non-musicians. After collecting this data, we observed the information and decided what data we would use to create the visualization presented to the audience in the experience.
Thinking about the user experience for this project was very different than what I was used to. Rather than thinking about how a user might navigate a webpage we needed to think about how attendees would flow through different areas of the experience. We also had to consider details like how we would keep track of heart rate monitors and how participants would receive their heart rate data after the experience. All of these small details needed to be considered before we began sketching and wireframing different digital interfaces scattered throughout the event. All of these details were considered by Claudia Aguirre and I as part of the UX team.
One of the projects I worked on for this experience was a microsite for the experience. To create this site I first sketched some ideas with pen and paper.
After creating sketches, I created wireframes for the website in Sketch. Discussing the wireframes with others helped me improve upon the design and create something that would be effective in sharing information about the experience.
The final cumulation of our project was a prototype of the experience that we presented to an audience of University of Miami faculty and students as well as Frost Science and New World Symphony employees. To show how our experience would work we conducted a live demo of the EEG headset and visualization. Using an EEG, we had volunteers from the audience wear the headset and listen to live music. As they listened to music we projected the data onto a screen, visualizing the volunteer’s brainwaves reacting to music.
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