Another Toy Story


This project proposes to connect the soundscape of in restaurants and taverns in Vietnam,  to a space in Barcelona by ‘hacking’ an old analog object and motorise it, effectively turning it into a reactive object. This installation is designed to sit at the junction between the old and new, the analog and the digital.

The installation reacts to data remotely collected (in Vietnam), and draws information from the beat frequency and loudness of specific noises in taverns/restaurants. This intensity and rhythm is live-transferred and digitally charted on a web platform and sent to Barcelona.

Materials – Components

The data-driven objects are LEDs and an old wooden toy (a drummer) found at a flea market – to be controlled by a servo motor.
The toy comes with a string-based mechanism which resets the drumming arms to their position on the drum. The project attempts to combine this wooden toy with new elements that can read and effectuate the environmental data from the sensor.


Code development


The project requires to be set up at two different locations, and involves different processes at different stages. In Vietnam, the process involves capturing data and transferring it to the web space. This webspace exists between the two locations, and visualises the sound. In Barcelona, the process involved re-rigging the toy, and setting the trigger moment for the different actuators by defining the thresholds at which the LEDs and Servo are activated.

Set Up : Physical and Digital


 Sending Set up

Web platform charting loudness data and broadcasting location of source sound.

Receiving set up – connected to actuators (Servo and LEDs)

Actuator set-up: connecting the toy + motor + LEDs to the processor (M5Stack)
The design rigged the mechanism of the toy and set it up on a laser cut object. It combines a control of the existing mechanism and devising a new integration with the new structures and mechanisms.

The new rigs uses transparent acrylic to expose the structure and wiring of the new mechanisms and actuators. In this way, the project highlights the contrast between the old and new, the analog and the digital and mechanised.

Thresholds for actuating data – mapping the loudness data to actionable goals.
Assembled set-up.

 Testing loudness data – reaction  with music

Final Installation – “Another Toy Story”

This project connects different dualities. It links two different locations (3 counting the digital space), as well as connects the old and the new, the analog and the digital. The design of the rig attempts to expose the concerted actions of the mechanisms, and how they sit with the existing object. Its focus on sound and playfulness attempts to give a sense of presence and emotions of the lively Vietnamese street soundscape thousands of kilometers away.

Project Video Overview



Another Toy Story is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed in the MAA01 2020/21 by Students: Amandeep Singh Sasan, Iulia Maria Lichwar, Cécile Ngọc Sương Perdu and Faculty: Angel Munoz, Cristian Rizzuti