Well, noises anyway. [Dmitry Morozov] and [Alexandra Gavrilova] present an interesting electronics-based art installation, which probes a large chunk of crystalline magnetite, using a pair of servo-mounted probes, ‘measuring’ the surface conductivity and generating some sound and visuals.
It appears to have only one degree of freedom per probe, so we’re not so sure all that much of the surface gets probed per run, but however it works it produces some interesting, almost random results. The premise is that the point-to-point surface resistivity is unpredictable due to the chaotically formed crystals all jumbled up, but somehow uses these measured data to generate some waveshapes vaguely reminiscent of the resistivity profile of the sample, the output of which is then fed into a sound synthesis application and pumped out of a speaker. It certainly looks fun.
From a constructional perspective, hardware is based around a LattePanda fed samples by an ADS1115 ADC, which presumably is also responsible for driving the LCD monitor and the sound system. An Arduino is also wedged in there perhaps for servo-driving duty, maybe also as part of the signal chain from the probes, but that is just a guess on our part. The software uses the VVVV (Visual Live-programming suite) and the Pure Data environment.
We haven’t seen magnetite used for this type of application before, we tend to see it as a source of Iron for DIY knifemaking, as a medium to help separate DNA or just to make nanoparticles, for erm, reasons.