Using MIDI and Magnets to Produce Tones with Tines

Normally you’d expect the sound of a pipe organ to come from something gigantic. [Matthew Steinke] managed to squeeze all of that rich melodic depth into an acoustic device the size of a toaster (YouTube link) which uses electromagnetism to create its familiar sound.

[Matthew ’s] instrument has a series of thin vertical tines, each coupled with a small MIDI controlled electromagnet. As the magnet pulses with modulation at a specific frequency, the pull and release of the tine causes it to resonate continuously with a particular tone. The Tine Organ is capable of producing 20 chromatic notes in full polyphony starting in middle C and can be used as an attachment to a standard keyboard or a synthesizer app on a smart phone. The classic style body of the instrument is made out of mahogany and babinga and houses the soundboard as well as the mini microcontroller responsible for receiving the MIDI and regulating the software oscillators sending voltage to the magnets.

[Matthew’s] creation is as interesting to look at as it is to listen to, so I’d recommend checking out the video below to hear the awesome sound it produces:

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Acoustic bass guitar uses water jug and two strings

water-bottle-acoustic-guitar

It’s easy to dismiss this one at first glance. But once you hear [Tychsen81] playing the thing you’ll want to know more.

He posted the demonstration way back in 2009. It wasn’t until a year later that he filmed the particulars of how the thing was made. The strings are actually bass guitar strings, an A and D string that are tuned down to E and A to play along with Black Sabbath’s “Ironman”. The neck is made out of two boards. One serves as the fingerboard, which is fretless. The other is mounted under that in order to provide negative space for the bridge while keeping the strings at the right height for the fingerboard. The water bottle helps to amplify the sound and that’s why the bottom end of the strings pivot on the bridge, pass through the neck, and are anchored on the bottom edge of the bottle.

We’ve embedded both the demo and the build videos after the break.

If this gets you thinking about making your own instruments you will also be interested in the Whamola.

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Cheap Acoustic Panel DIY

[Eric Wolfram] wrote in to let us know about a simple and cheap acoustic panel DIY he put together.  When installing a home theater acoustics are often neglected (especially if you spend so much on the TV you cannot afford any furniture for the room) resulting in reduced listening quality and poor spacial sound imaging from your surround system (also responsible for the furniture problem). The addition of sound absorbing panels helps control the acoustics of the room and may even class up the place a bit.  These are also come in handy for home studio usage where a low level of reverberation is preferred.

The panels are relatively simple to produce on a budget, just a sheet of 2″ thick dense fiberglass board glued into a wooden frame and covered in a sound-transparent fabric. [Eric] goes into a lot of the material selection process to help you along your way. The best part about the project (aside from its obvious utility) is that all of the materials can be found cheaply at your average home improvement store, with the exception of the fabric.  [Eric] mentions that you can substitute colored burlap if need be.  Once the panel is assembled and glued it just has to be hung on the wall of your choice like a large heavy picture frame. This could certainly help the acoustics and reduce some slap-back echo in your warehouse/shop. We might have to try this one over the weekend.

Thanks [Eric]!

What input device? Just use your arm

This one could be a game changer. [Chris Harrison] and a team of researchers are showing off a method of using your arm as an input device. An arm band worn by the user picks up acoustic signatures created by tapping on your arm with the other hand, or taping your fingers and thumb together on the same hand. They’re achieving accuracies in the 82-97% range but it gets even better. Take a look at the video after the break and see what they’ve done by adding a pico-projector to the arm band in order to use your arm or hand as a touch display.

We liked seeing the concept mice from October, but the future of input devices might already be attached at the elbow.

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