efficiency & progress

stuff i think about, projects i pretend to work on

I’m sure you have already seen this somewhere else (cdm for instance) but I feel the urge to replace the default post with something. So, here we go:

Two weeks ago, I have been attending the Berlin Music Hackday, a convention of coders and creators from around the world. Being seemly the only owner of a bottle-opener, I quickly came in touch with Ramsey Arnaoot, a nice guy from the US who has unfortunately already moved back there. Discussing the focus that the presentations had on Web 2.0 APIs, we decided to take a more physical approach to computer-generated sounds, using one of the Arduino boards we had lying around.

After a short trip to Kaufhof and Conrad to stack up with servos, toy instruments and hot glue, we put the whole thing together in very short time.

Monome and Xylobot [photo by Ramsey Arnaoot]

The build is nothing special and quite self-explanatory, little hammers made of hot-glued bolts strike the Glockenspiel. The Arduino library suffered from a bug that would let us use only 6 servos, so we had to settle for the major pentatonic scale.

On the computer side, a Java application is listening to incoming MIDI data and triggers the servos using simple serial messages. This was the second project I did with the Arduino and I am still amazed how easily things can be prototyped with this platform. Ramsey wrote a custom Pd-Patch for RjDj to generate music from sensory data, though we haven’t got a video of this (yet).

By the way: I’m very interested in attending the Amsterdam Music Hackday, so if anyone reading this is driving there, passing Berlin and willing to take me along, please get in touch.

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