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The Timekeeper: A 3D printed marble music machine

The Timekeeper is a creation by Domestic Data Streamers with Spotify during the Sonar Music Festival 2016, that collects a song to send to users in the future. The machine, which has been created using BCN3D Sigmas, metaphorically inserts a song into a glass marble.

Photo: Pep Avila

Imagine if you could predict what song you will be listening to in the future…what if you could save it in a marble until then?

That is what Domestic Data Streamers, a design and communication firm bringing emotions into data, did in collaboration with Spotify last year during the Sonar Music Festival in Barcelona.

What is the Timekeeper?

The Timekeeper is a device that chooses a song, specifically curated for a user using Spotify preferences, to send to them in the future on a chosen date. The participant’s listening habits are blended with their behavioural habits. The resulting song is then “metaphorically” inserted into a glass marble, which is kept inside the Timekeeper until the designated time. 

Data acquired by the Timekeeper during the Sonar Music Festival 2016 showed that, although 87% of participants were looking for new life experiences, the vast majority (59%) were conservative in the way they listened to music and felt more comfortable with popular trends as opposed to experimentation. 

The Timekeeper also recorded that people were more open to listening to new types of music while experiencing a happy moment (even if said moments were placed in the future), setting a direct link between music and happiness.

Photo: Pep Avila

Functional prototyping with 3D printing

The Timekeeper is a groundbreaking machine able to work with 1500 marbles at the same time, with 200 of them moving inside. Apart from the glass and marbles, it has more than 150 3D printed parts.

This unique machine contains a vast exhibition of mechanisms, from gears, to automated doors that the marbles pass through. It is a great example of the power of 3D printing when building a functional prototype with a limited budget and no investment in tooling.

3D printing meant that the design could be iterated easily, especially when trying to fit parts into glass structures made by hand.

 

Collaborating with us at BCN3D

All parts were printed using the BCN3D Sigma, with more than 30kg of PLA, Colorfabb XT and flexible materials. It also contains bi-material parts, combining rigid and flexible materials to fit the parts into glass softly and safely.

Domestic Data Streamers owns 4 BCN3D Sigmas in its facilities in Barcelona, and we collaborated by printing some of the parts needed in the project. The Timekeeper required more than 6000h in printing time, and more than 10 BCN3D Sigmas were involved in the project.

 

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