Pachet, F. On the Design of Flow Machines. In Tokoro, M. and Steels, L, editor, A Learning Zone of One's Own, The Future of Learning, IOS Press. Amsterdam, 2004.

Sony CSL authors: François Pachet


This paper addresses the issue of designing interactive systems that create flow experiences in users. I first describe an interactive musical system called the Continuator, which is able to learn the musical style of users in an agnostic, continuous fashion. I then describe experiments conducted with professional musicians and with 3 to 5-year old children and the Continuator. I show that these interactions are – almost - typical of the Flow phenomenon, as introduced by Csikszentmihalyi. I then focus on the abstraction of the design principles behind the Continuator and propose the notion of Reflective Interactive System as a class of applications which trigger Flow experiences. Based on the analysis of the various psychological experiments conducted so far, I identify the issue of flexibility in interaction protocols as a crucial step to enhance the efficiency of Reflective Systems as we envisage them today.

Keywords: Continuator


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BibTeX entry

@INCOLLECTION { pachet:04d, ADDRESS="Amsterdam", AUTHOR="Pachet, F.", BOOKTITLE="A Learning Zone of One's Own", EDITOR="Tokoro, M. and Steels, L", PUBLISHER="IOS Press", SERIES="The Future of Learning", TITLE="On the Design of Flow Machines", YEAR="2004", }