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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Haptic-Sensitive Instrument – Jonathan Sparks

Haptic-Sensitive Instrument – Jonathan Sparks

| On 05, May 2015

Jonathan Sparks is an artist living in Brooklyn, NY. His work combines computer programing, fabrication, electronics and multimedia.

Vibraille is his early exploration into the possibilities of adding haptic feedback into the mobile devices that usually rely heavily on the ability to recognize images as a means of interaction. This work gives opportunity to those with visual impairments to experience all the pleasure of smart phones.



Vibraille translates letters from text messages into their corresponding braille pattern represented in a 2X3 grid. By touching the 2X3 grid on screen with their fingers, users can activate a braille bump built in the mobile phone. The vibration offers them a quick mental image of the current character.


“Nomis” is a loop-based musical instrument that transforms gestures into music, accompanying with vibrant light show. Combining of Arduino, Max MSP and Ableton live, the sensitively designed electronic device is able to loop and display melodies via visibly flashing interfaces.


MIDI sounds are triggered by beating the octagonal interface which is made of black and frosted plexiglass, afterwards, they are displayed through the first of the two polychromatic light towers. Finally, by spinning the octagonal interface, the loops are then transferred to the second tower.


Jonathan hopes to create a powerful, complex and expressive composition for compelling live performances. These performances are stored and looped by spinning the whole octagonal interface in the middle. Each layer of the two towers can be turned on or off to create a dynamic harmony from the loops created live, and the performer can play the individual tones of his/her choosing.

The video trailer is very impressive, and presents an awesome performance with the combination of multi media. It suggests a new way to compose music which can be simply manipulated by the touch of a finger. What if the whole loop can measure the intensity of the touch and offer more intelligent interactions? That’s what I’m going to explore further in my next project.

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