Velophonic Ride is a collaborative project which brings together several students from varied courses and backgrounds to investigate maker culture and digital prototyping techniques such as 3D printing. The outcome is part performance, part field-work, part experiential design, as this musical bike project encourages cyclists to make their own motion instruments to explore the city with a musically-enhanced ride. Velophonic Ride comprises of two Velophonic instruments – the Velophonic Flute and the Velophonic Wheel. The Velophonic Flute is based on wind flutes and uses the natural airflow of cycling to produce an ambient flute sound. The Velophonic Wheel transforms the bike into a moving music box using sensors and a speaker connected to an Arduino. The motion translates into a melodious combination of notes which can be altered by rearranging the 3D-printed spoke-mounted pins that strike the sensors as the wheel rotates.
A playful experiment driven by a truly collaborative spirit, Velophonic Ride reflects the diverse interests of its Ravensbourne student designers. Alongside Valerio Adiutori (MSc Applied Technology) and Bryan Ruiz (MSc Applied Technology), Peter Schaefer (MSc Interactive Digital Media, Fernanda Valério (MA Wearable Futures) and Judit Florenciano (MA Wearable Futures) have designed Velophonic Ride with makers, music hackers and bicycle enthusiasts first and foremost in mind.
Though it may seem an especially whimsical project, it bears the mark of all its collaborators, serving as an expression and continuation of their own individual practices. For example, Schaefer’s work has tended to combine physical objects with electronics and software in order to create interactive experiences and designs that look at how technology shapes the way we interact with and perceive the world around us. Judit Florenciano originally trained as a hair and makeup designer, but now creates fictional narratives which examine how the integration of new technologies could affect the way we experience and understand the body. Fernanda Valério is a London-based designer and researcher with a background in fashion, but her current practice now involves speculative storytelling around the application of emerging technologies in the future of body‐centric design.
Velophonic Ride encapsulates these collective concerns and more. A experiment with knowledge-sharing at its heart, this is a vehicle for inspiring and exercising curiosity, for generating questions beyond the limits of the project itself.