This is an interesting take on a music box. [Blair Neal] is using an overhead projector with a roll of transparency to make a synthesized music box. A camera watches the projected image and feeds data to Max/MSP to produce the sounds. Customization merely requires creative image analysis. In this case, different colored pens or different tracks can be assigned to a sound with the speed of the track based on how fast you wind the transparency spool.
[Sebastian Tomczak] was borrowing a homeade muon detector from his friend, and managed to hook it up to his computer through an Arduino. The detector itself uses 3 fluorescent tubes to detect radiation. Three separate tubes are used in order to filter out terrestrial radiation; cosmic radiation will fall in-line with the tubes and pass through at least two of them, whereas terrestrial radiation will only hit one. There is some basic circuitry to amplify the signal and then perform the OR operation.
[Tomczak] used an Arduino to take the raw data and feed it into his computer. He then used Max/MSP to analyze the data and filter out background noise, leaving only the cosmic ray data. He didn’t mention what he was going to use the data for, though. Maybe he’ll hook it up to a synthesizer.
Related: Digital Geiger counter
Create Digital Music has a great post on [Luca De Rosso]’s OTTO. Built as part of his masters’ thesis, it’s a unique tangible music interface. You load a sample into the software which displays it on the instrument surface. The user can then manipulate the sample using various hardware inputs while watching the LED representation. The device uses just one Arduino for the display and inputs. It works with Max/MSP and is designed to give the performer only the information they truly need. You can find more pictures of the device on Flickr and a picture of the guts on CDM. Embedded below is the ‘Getting Started’ video that shows it in use.
[Guy John] sent in this cool sequencer project. He’s using the game Go as the input. A web camera pics up the location of the pieces on the grid and plots them in his sequencing software. You can see that it is still very much in progress, but it is coming along nicely. He openly admits that it may never be completely practical. There is still so much to be improved to get it even comfortably usable, such as motion detection to remove his hand from the mix when re locating the Go pieces. This project is very similar to the Skittles interface that we posted back in July. It would be kind of interesting, though probably repetitive, to actually play a game of go and listen to the variations in the music while you play.
We first spotted the Stribe music controller at Maker Faire. [Josh Boughey] has since refined the controller’s design so that it can be constructed in a modular fashion and it’s being sold in kit form by Curious Inventor. The kit has two columns of 64 LEDs and a Spectra Symbol SoftPot for control. You can daisy chain eight modules together using a ribbon cable. It uses SPI control, with a separate wire for the data line (not in the ribbon). An Arduino is used to hook the controller to programs like Max/MSP.
Hardware modding can take you to some strange places: sometimes, you think of really useful improvements to your most practical devices. Other times, you turn a cup of tea into a theremin. This is true at least for [Kyle McDonald], who immersed the L/R leads of an 1/8″ cable in a cup of tea, and connected it to a computer running Max/MSP with a special patch. The result is a working, miniature theremin you can drink after you’re done playing. This process should work with any liquid, so feel free to use beer, cola, water, or anything you think will taste better after you’ve run a small charge through it.