If Jeff Goldbum’s character in The Fly were actually a cat, and the fly that inadvertently gets into one of his “telepods” were a theremin, then Goldblum’s character might have ended up turning into something resembling this fantastic project called Mew. Made by Emily Groves, Jackie Ford, Jakub Pollág, and Paula Arntzen as a collaborative project between Design Products, Information Experience Design, and Visual Communication students at the Royal College of Art in London, Mew combines the interactivity of a theremin with the sound and texture of a cat.
Our final outcome was Mew, an interactive sound piece. As you walk towards the curious and gawkish object, it begins to emit a soft purring sound. This tells you that the object is responsive and encourages further interaction. If you stroke the fur, it will emit distorted meow sounds that are manipulated by the direction your hand moves. Pushing on the object will also alter the sounds, but pressing too hard will make Mew hiss.
Basically, the construction of the work included sewing conductive thread into the fur and connecting it to capacity sensors, as well as pressure sensors, that sent information to an Arduino. The readings from the Arduino were then sent to a Mac Mini running a program called Max which controlled the sound.
This project looks like so much fun, I’d like to give one of these a nice pet someday.