This thesis describes my research into the development of a unit interaction model for multi-touch interactions in a musical context. To create this model of unit interactions, I first determined the most fundamental aspects of multi-touch that offer interaction building blocks that can be combined in a variety of ways, allowing for a high degree of freedom to design and build musical interfaces. This unit interaction model is implemented via JunctionBox, a toolkit for mapping multi-touch input to control of music.
With JunctionBox, composers, musicians, and programmers can build interfaces that combine multi-touch and mapping for use in a wide variety of musical contexts. As a toolkit, JunctionBox features multi-touch input tracking, mapping of input to output via messaging, output for graphical feedback, and flexible networking options. All of these features are designed such that they can be used in any combination, allowing for tremendous creative freedom in building interfaces.
To put JunctionBox in a context, it is compared to other toolkits to examine its interaction features in comparison to other tools. The comparisons show that JunctionBox provides a richer set of interaction options than the other tools. By providing a rich set of interactions, JunctionBox opens the door to greater creativity in designing multi-touch musical interfaces.
JunctionBox is also explored via practice-based research. During my research, I have created and performed with a variety of interfaces that I built with JunctionBox. These interfaces range from live performance interfaces to controls for an interactive installation. The variety of interfaces shows the flexibility inherent in the design of JunctionBox. In addition, these interfaces serve to show the creative interface possibilities that JunctionBox affords.
Finally, research into the design and implementation of JunctionBox led to the development of a series of design principles that can be applied to toolkits that aspire to balance features and creative freedom. The design principles are variations on tolerance. Tolerance for allowing developers to use their own creativity in designing and building musical interfaces.