When left alone, the exhibit goes into demo mode, showing off different features and sounds and hoping to attract a gallery visitor.
The synth was shown as an interactive toy. The display is a standard LCD rotated to landscape orientation. Audio is provided by a set of standard desktop computer speakers (with decent bass response). The software is running on a MacBook Pro which is stashed out of sight. Interaction is handled with just a mouse.
The instruction sheet provided with the exhibit tries to explain what to do without being too specific about what exactly will happen.
Some of the sounds produced by the plate when pushed to its limits can be very interesting -- but having an exhibit that makes raucous scratching noises continuously can be irritating. To address this tension, the exhibit resets itself if it happens to be playing very loud sound for two seconds without any user interaction.
(Sometimes gallery patrons did not realize this and turned down the speakers -- in future shows, any external volume knob will need to be disabled.)
The program during normal operation. The upper area is the plate itself, with the current density visualized in blue and current vibration in white. The X's are sequenced plate strikes.