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Sound Rebound is a sound and design App built by myself and Dina Herring for the Digital Experience Lab at the Exploratorium. It incorporates elements of the Japanese mechanical game pachinko, pinball, and a Rube Goldberg machine. The app was originally inspired by an exhibit on the Exploratorium floor called Pinbell, an open-faced pinball machine that allows visitors to lay out their own pinball playfield and experiment with the sound and movement it makes.

Sound Rebound encourages playful creativity with a flexible, open-ended user experience. By laying out their own playfield and sending balls through it, people use the app to compose music, construct kinetic art, and manipulate sound and visual cycles into mesmerizing creations.

In reinventing a physical exhibit in digital form, we went beyond just copying the physical interaction onto a device. This app has the satisfying sounds and motions of a physical playfield – the clangs and clunks, the dings, the wheels that spin, and the intense anticipation of waiting for enough balls to build up and topple a barrier – but in the digital space we can also tap into a nearly infinite variety of shapes, sound, and motions. While in the physical world it would be hard for most people to lift an entire pinball machine, anyone can rotate or shake their phone to see what happens. And users can design, adjust and readjust, and save their creations with just a simple tap.

Sound Rebound was  created with minimal text and more emphasis on physical interaction.


Imagine yourself inside a fluid world of 2-D shapes and design. What does it look and sound like? That’s up to you. Sound Rebound is a creative space for you to build mesmerizing interactions, dynamic collages, or whatever comes to mind. Orchestrate bounces and bumps and explore the color of sound.


March 20, 2022