Ocarina, created in 2008 for the iPhone, is one of the first musical artifacts in the age of pervasive, app-based mobile computing. It presents a flute-like physical interaction using microphone input, multi-touch, and accelerometers—and a social dimension that allows users to listen in to each other around the world. This article chronicles Smule's Ocarina as a mobile musical experiment for the masses, examining in depth its design, aesthetics, physical interaction, and social interaction, as well as documenting its inextricable relationship with the rise of mobile computing as catalyzed by mobile devices such as the iPhone.
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© 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.