Drone Table

Drone Table Website 1

If you really consider the coffee shop experience (which I have, extensively!), you will realize that the din of the shop is one of the major “affordances” of the experience. Baristas clanging steamed milk tins on espresso makers, rinsing dishes, foaming milk, tapping down espresso. MP3 player pumping out beats/jams/rock songs/experimental weirdness over the loudspeakers. Many conversations happening at once. People coming and going. Traffic noise from outside.

You would imagine that this much noise would be distracting and distressing, but it’s actually hugely useful. It creates a backdrop of “white noise” that, at its best, brings us deeper into concentration (on whatever laptop work you might be doing at the cafe that day…). If we are having a conversation in close proximity with another guest/table, it allows us to speak without being eavesdropped on. Conversely, we don’t have to hear every word of our neighbor’s conversation, since it’s being drowned out by all the other noises. The din is a huge reason that people come to the coffee shop. It makes it a great place to work in solitude or meet publicly.

The drone table seeks to provide this kind of din function, but in a fantastic and more musical way….

I am modeling a table that hums in Solidworks. This table uses a foot treadle to move a simple linear-to-rotary mechanism. It is part of an ongoing investigation of sound environments and the overlapping territory between phenomenological/sensual and social experiences.

The table is essentially a mash-up of an old Victorian-era manual Singer sewing machine and a hurdy gurdy. Pump the foot pedal to turn a wheel, which bows strings to produce a hum.

Drone Table Website 2

The guiding vision for this project was a coffee shop full of these tables, with workers pedaling away, creating a room full of unique hums, not unlike a beehive.
This situation would allow each person in the room to tune the hum to their desired pitch/harmony, while also creating an aggregate hum of many tones, resulting in a new kind of coffee shop din


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