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S q u e e z a b l e s

developed by
Seum-Lim GAN
Gil Weinberg

Evolution of the SQUeeZABLE Interface

The SQUeeZABLE has evolved from the early "Sea Slipper" version to the current Squeezable Jello Ball version which is a group of six soft balls filled with jello like material. The six jello balls are placed in the middle of a low table about 1.5 feet high. The jello balls can be lifted or pulled from the table and retractable.

Since version 4, all squeezables can be played separately by more than one person making group play possible and also giving players with smaller hands to squeeze smaller squeezables rather than a large squeezable.

  • Version 6
  • SQUeeZABLE Table/SQUeeZABLE Jello Balls
    The squeezable balls here are made of jello, wrapped in latex and decorated with cloth. These balls have a very organic feel when squeezed and fondled. Six balls are placed in the middle of a low table and they can be arranged to form different shapes. The jello balls can also be lifted or pulled from the table making them "stretchable" too.

    The Squeezable Jello Ball Table
    The table is actually an inverted half whisky barrel. It is decorated by covering it with a black velveteen. This makes it look like a magician's table too. Between the barrel top and the velveteen, a piece of foam is fitted so that the table top will feel soft and comfortable. The table is about 1.5 feet high and 21 inches across.

    Applications include sound sculpting (shaping sound by physically shaping objects), music algorithm manipulation, sequence maniplation and sound selection in realtime.

    Squeezing the Jello Balls

    The Rectangular Sensor Block in the Squeezable

    Lifting/pulling the retractable Jello Balls

    The sensor that measures the squeezing is made out of five force sensing resistors, glued onto and around one side of the rectangular nylon block as shown in the picture above. This sensor block is then pushed into the center of the jello ball and the ball is sealed by thread.

    The wires that connect to the sensor block in the ball then go through a little hole on the table and tied at the other end to a variable resistor slider. The slider is hidden under the table. To make the squeezable balls retract back onto the table top, elastics are tied to the sliders. The slider measures the amount of pulling/lifting of the ball from the table top.

    Both the squeezing and pulling are sampled by the computer running Max. Max is a graphical object-oriented patch programming environment for MIDI. Mappings are then created with Max to interprete the values from the sensors into music and sound. The synthesizers used for generating the sound and music are the Nord Rack II (virtual analog), E-Mu Ultraproteus, Roland Sound Canvas SC55, Digidesign SampleCell II sampling synthesizer and Steinberg's REBIRTH, a fully software synthesis program that runs on an Apple Macintosh.

    Squeezing the Jello Balls as a cluster

    In order to retain the feature of the Squeezable Cluster (Version 3 Squeezables), the squeezable jello balls are placed in the middle of the table instead of around the perimeter of the table (Version 5). This way, all six balls can be grouped together and squeezed like a cluster. The cluster feature is unique because one has six continuous controls (instead of one) that allows simultaneous changing of many sound and music parameters in a very comfortable and organic way.

    At the same time, the cluster can be separated making it possible for more than one person to play with the squeezables. This will encourage group play of the same instrument, something that is rare.

    Arranging the Squeezable into a different shape/pattern

    Having the squeezables separated gives another advantage. They can be arranged into many different shapes and clusters which gives the collective squeezable symmetrical, non-symmetrical or irregular shapes. This gives the player a freedom to "shape" their instrument according to what they feel comfortable before playing.

  • Version 5
  • SQUeeZABLE Table/SQUeeZABLE Foam Balls
    This is essentially the same Stretchable Squeezable on a low table for smaller people.
    There are eight balls on the perimeter of the inverted Whisky Barrel where all of them can be squeezed and stretched from the table top. The balls are made of foam, wrapped in decorative cloth.

  • Version 4
  • The SQUeeZABLE Pole

    It has been observed that children with small hands and fingers like to squeeze or pinch one ball of the Squeezable cluster instead of the whole cluster. They also like to play in groups and interact with one another.

    The SQUeeZABLE Pole evolved from the Squeezable Cluster to allow each ball to be squeezed separately. This is the important feature that allows group play, i.e. more than one person to squeeze and pull. All seven Squeezables are at the top of a pole-like station. When pulled and let go, the squeezables will return to the pole by themselves. The squeezing and stretching are mapped to play the Nord Rack II and E-Mu ultraproteus synthesizers through algorithms like the Arpeggio engine. Sound sculpting algorithms are used to shape sound by shaping the squeezables.

    How it works

    The Sensor Block consisting of 5 Force Sensing Resistors (FSRs) and the Pull Barrel with 7 FSRs are the main parts of the SQUeeZABLE Pole.

    The Sensor Block

    The Sensor Block, which is in the heart of the every squeezable ball, simulates the shape of a baloon bulb detecting pressures from all sides of the squeezable ball. The Pull Barrel, tied to the wire of all the squeezables, converts all the pulling to pushing the FSRs under it.

    All these FSRs are connected to the ICube digitizer which measures voltage drop across a bridge. The ICube is connected to the Apple Macintosh running Max. Max is an object oriented graphical programming tool. The values are interpreted and processed by algorithms in Max which then controls all the synthesizers, like the Nord Rack II, E-Mu UltraProteus and Roland Sound Canvas.

    The ICube Digitizer : A MIDI based Digitizer

  • Version 3
  • The Squeezable Cluster



    The foam ball cluster as the SQUeeZABLE

    The Squeezing Action Shots



    Ahhhhh..... !!

    Errrrr..... !

    How it works

    The Sensor Cube consisting of 6 Force Sensing Resistors (FSRs) is the heart of the SQUeeZABLE. One FSR is on each face of the cube and a few in between foam balls outside the cube. One foam ball is glued onto each face of the sensor cube and intermediate "holes" of the six-ball object are filled by other foam balls to form a ball cluster like object we call the SQUeeZABLE.

    Since all the foam balls are glued to one another, squeezing or touching anyone of them will apply pressure to the different sides of the sensor cube in a different way. For the ball that is directly above the cube, squeezing it will apply more pressure to that face of the cube and depending on the squeezing action, will apply pressure to the other face of the cube. If the foam ball that is not directly on the cube is squeezed, pressure will be applied onto the faces that are near that ball.

    In summary, the sensor cube will tell us where and what is squeezed and how.

    There are also FSRs between foam balls to capture extra squeezing pressures around the cluster.

    The FSRs are connected to the ICube digitizer which measures voltage drop across a bridge. The ICube is connected to the Apple Macintosh running Max. Max is an object oriented graphical programming tool. The values are interpreted in Max and used to control a MIDI synthesizer.

    The ICube Digitizer : A MIDI based Digitizer

    For sound sculpturing, a Nord Rack 2 virtual analog synthesizer is used. The values are used to change the various oscillator and filter values to achieve the sculpturing. The harder you squeeze, the more "distress" is the Nord Rack 2.

    The Nord Rack 2 Virtual Analog Synthesizer

    For the instrument control of a piece of music, Max is used to playback a MIDI piece to a Korg General MIDI synthesizer. The SQUeeZABLE will control the program changes, number of tracks to play/mute and volume of tracks through Max.

    The Korg AG-10 General MIDI Synthesizer

    Video Clips of the Squeezable Cluster

  • The Squeezable Toy
  • Not just for children
  • Shaping Sound with the Squeezable
  • Expresse with the Squeezable
  • Groove with the Squeezable
  • Max Mathews about the Squeezable
    TTT Presentation Page

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