SMule: flute playing made fun

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The iPhone has changed from a great phone into a multitouch device that is redefining interaction design. It has changed in a gameboy, planner, fishpond and even a DJ tool. I’m starting to suspect that it is actually a Transformer, but have not yet found proof… until now. I would have suspected the iPhone to change into a walking robot or an ice cream machine, but never… ever would I have thought that it could actually change into a flute. But with Ocarina it just did.

Ocarina is an application that changes your phone into a working flute. When you blow into the microphone it will generate the sound of an ocarina; the flute originating from the Zelda games. If you want to play tunes you can put your fingers on the holes displayed on the screen. And it actually sounds quite nice:

SMule: Ocarina [Zeldarian] from SonicMule, Inc. on Vimeo.

But what makes this application really special is the additional feature: the ability to listen to other people playing the Ocarina at that exact moment. You’ll see a globe of the world, on which lights around the world are displayed, showing people playing the Ocarina. One moment you’re listening to somebody trying out the Ocarina in Japan and the next moment to a beautiful play in New York. You get the feeling that you are eavesdropping, which is something special.

Jeroen van Geel

Jeroen van Geel is founder/chief kahuna of Johnny Holland and the interaction director at Fabrique [brands, design & interaction], a Dutch multidisciplinary design agency. You can follow him on Twitter via @jeroenvangeel.

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