Hackaday Links: Sunday, May 12th, 2013

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[Johnathan Crawford] isn’t bashful about tearing the insides of his truck apart. He’s built his own remote starter using a Raspberry Pi.

We vaguely remember hearing about a startup that planned to deliver tacos using quadcopters instead of people. We assume that company was a bust but here’s the concept in action at the 2013 RoboGames [thanks Don].

On the topic of food: pizza and joysticks… do they go together? Perhaps. Here’s a joystick made out of an empty pizza box (note the remains of grease stains inside).

[Jonathan] brings to our attention the problem of running out of fingers to press all the buttons on your Monome at just the right moment. No worries, just add some solenoids to act as extra fingers.

Apparently some Samsung cameras (NX20, NX210 and NX1000) can use their USB port as a shutter release. The trick is finding the right resistor values for the ID pin [thanks Janne].

Plagued with a tablet dock that wasn’t weighty enough to prevent the device from tipping over [John] filled base with lead to keep the thing upright.

[Helmut's] bathroom had no windows. He faked one using an Arduino and an RGB led.

And finally, as a reward for all the readers that made it to the bottom of the article, here’s a gem of a project. [Charlie] was inspired by the recent logic combo lock post to send in his own plans for a lock he made years ago. Unfortunately he can’t find the pictures from the build but the theory behind it is quite engaging.

Tired of playing the MacBook? Play the Raspberry Pi!

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Hit up any club, party, or get together where musicians are present and you’ll probably find a DJ booth stacked to the gills with faders, various MIDI devices, and a MacBook. However abundant an OS X-based DJ platform is, we haven’t heard hide nor hare of a Raspberry Pi being used as a sequencer, MIDI device, or MaxMSP box.

[James] over at Illuminated Sound put together a great tutorial for making all those cool electronic music devices play nice with a Raspberry Pi. He used a Novation Launchpad, an 8×8 MIDI controller that can act as faders, a keyboard, or even a functional equivalent to the pads on an MPC.

Hardware is nothing without software, so [James] used Puredata and libusb to turn the MIDI data into notes and audio effects.

[James] added a download that includes the Launchpad driver and a Puredata sketch to test everything out. You can see how it all fits together in the video after the break.

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Chess board step sequencer

[tinkartank] wrote in to tell us about the chess board step sequencer he built. It’s a great piece of work that combines the wonderful classical erudition a set of chess pieces confers with modern technological musical equipment such as a monome.

The build began by routing small holes underneath each square and fitting very small and fragile reed switches. Sixty four of these switches are wired into rows and columns then attached to the digital inputs of an Arduino Mega. To close these reed switches, magnets are implanted into the base of each chess piece so whenever a piece is on the board is moved a circuit closes.

On the control side of things, [tinkartank] built a very nice control panel to change the key being played*, the tempo, an ‘arpeggio dial,’ number of steps, and if there is a whole or half step in between notes. With this control panel, [tinkartank] can play just about any scale.

How does it sound? Well, the Arduino Mega outputs MIDI so realistically it can sound like anything imaginable. From the video demo (available after the break), we really like the interface and a reed switch array chess board is slowly climbing up our ‘to build’ list, if only for all the cool stuff you can do with one.

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Controlling samplers and sequencers with multitouch

When we see artists like Daft Punk or Madeon working their magic in a live setting, we’re always impressed with their controllers. Sample-based artist use controllers like the Monome and Kaoss Pad a lot, but these devices are fairly expensive. Thankfully, we live in an age of multitouch displays, so [Graham Comerford] came up with his own multitouch controller that does just about anything.

The build is based on the Kivy framework and includes a Monome emulator, MIDI drum pads, mixer, and a whole bunch of other sliders and buttons. There’s no word on how [Graham]‘s multitouch display was constructed, but if you’re looking to build your own gigantic audio control setup there’s a lot of info on building Microsoft Surface clones, adapting computer monitors, and spherical multitouch rigs.

We’re not sure if [Graham]‘s virtual drum kit is velocity sensitive but even if it’s not, it’s an interesting bit of kit. Check out an earlier version of his setup after the break.

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Androidome: Monome for Android

[Ewan Hemingway] tipped us off about his new Android app, Androidome. This is the first one he’s turned out after going through our Android development tutorials. It combines an app running on his Android 2.1 device with a computer running Max/MSP 5. The two don’t needed to be tethered, they just need to be on the same wireless network. This won’t be the best solution if you’re doing live performances, as the buttons on the screen end up being quite small. But as you can see after the break, it’s a great way to get into working with the Monome interface and decide if you want to build a dedicated physical version of the tool.

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Physical tone matrix

[Andrew Jenner] pulled off something amazing with this Physical Tone Matrix. He wanted to build a physical version of a flash applet he had seen. Two layers make up the main user interface. The top layer is a sheet of acrylic that acts as a touch interface and below there’s an LED matrix. [Andrew's] touch interface uses wires running throughout the acrylic as contacts which are polled via transistor pairs. As you can see in the video after the break it works well and we like the fact that there’s a tactile component (due to the bumpy wires) you don’t get when working with a touchscreen.

The 16×16 grid of LEDs on the bottom layer correspond to each ‘button’ on the touch matrix hand have some extra functions such as playing Conway’s Game of Life. This fantastic build still has a couple of kinks to work out, most notably the interference in the audio circuit, but we’re quite impressed at what he’s achieved quickly. Plus, this is more economical than a monome and larger than some of the monome clones we’ve seen.

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Monome case mod: vintage radio

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We’ve seen a lot of the Monome, a USB based controller often used as a sampler, here at Hack a Day. This is one of the more creative hacks. [brothernigel] took a Monome 40h kit and fit it inside the case of a vintage radio. The faceplate was a custom order to fit his purposes and incorporates the original radio frequency display. The USB port was well placed in the side of the wooden housing. For extra “soul”, pen and ink art adorns the insides. His work log gallery takes you through the process from start to finish.

We never noticed before, but the Monome makes a great vintage-looking-electronics project. All the lighted buttons are straight out of a ’60s military command center.

[Thanks Antonio]

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