The goal of this project is to explore how to modulate synthesized sound emitted from objects set off into motion. At one point I added a layer of complexity - to change the sound not only based on the movements but also based on the proximity of two objects. Due to the complexity of the task, I was advised to scale down the project and leave out the interaction between the objects themselves and focus on the user-object interaction instead.
The objects are, currently 3-d printed but soon-to-be paper mache, hollow roly-poly-shape enclosures with a weighted bottom. Each one is equipped with an Arduino Uno, Accelerometer, and a HC-05 bluetooth friend used to communicate acceleration of the objects to Max MSP, a software that generates sound, on my laptop.
Problem & Solution 1
Another simplification I made to the project is I took out the bluetooth speakers from the objects. The reason bluetooth speakers posed a problem was that Max MSP is a program on the computer and the computer can only have one bluetooth connection at a time.
Problem & Solution 2
Originally I wanted to use an RFID controller, and two RFID transponder stickers to measure the proximity of the objects to one another but I could not find adequate documentation even with the help of a physical computing pro resident, Aaron Parsekian (he was very helpful on other aspects of the project). Furthermore, I was advised that the transponders would require extremely close proximity to one another, like a key card reader, which posed a problem for my project. I am interested in exploring how objects can change sound on much farther distances - somewhere between 1 foot and 5 feet ideally. For that I was advised, by my instructor Ayodamola Okunseinde and by Tom Igoe (professor at ITP and cofounder of Arduino!) to use an RFduino - a radio frequency Arduino that could be programmed to work within that range. I decided to leave this for my future projects.
Currently I am grateful and delighted to be working with Aaron Montoya-Moraga on this project to bring it to completion. He is a sound artist and resident researcher here at ITP who has extensive experience with Max MSP (I have taken several of his workshops in Max MSP) and who has an engineering background. In order to simplify this project for the final. Our documentation for this project is here.
Normally the scuptures would sit on a shelf and one can nudge or hold them for a relaxing break or before meditating. I'm hoping to submit this for ITP's Winter Show if it turns out ok. For this purpose i want there to be a more inviting interaction bc the users will be first time users. So i think the best idea is to put the computer into a box, which will be the base for the sculptures and display headphones that are plugged into the box (to computer via box). The box will have a sign "move to make sound" or something:
I decided to make a 3-D model of an irregular oblong shape, reminiscent of an egg, using Rhino software. In creating this shape, I collaborated with Chester Dols, who is a mentor for this project. He taught me how to use Rhino and I admire his aesthetic, which aligns with mine.
First, I printed the enclosure at 20% to see if it is structurally sound:
I then printed it full size (about 5 inches in diameter) and had one succesful print, fillowrd by 4 failed attempts. The only printer that would print these is the .6 nozzle, which was then never free again. I have yet to schedule it and attempt to print the rest of the enclosures full size. Alternatively, I may try to print smaller enclosures in the .6 nozzle Ultimakers.
Another variation of these shapes is this:
I'm using two accelerometers and RFID controllers to modulate the sound that eminates from the two objects.
I am using Max/MXP to create synth patches, which will be modulated by the serial input from the two accelerometers (via Arduino 101, which has a wifi shield) in the sculptures. The sculptures are roly-poly toy shapes that wobble when nudged - this is what creates the accelerometer values. Max will send the sound output via blue tooth to a bluetooth speakers that rest inside the sculptures themselves. Concern: I am a little worried there ill be lag when using wifi and bluetooth to send data back and fourth from the computer.
Another option that might produce immediate sound upon touch would be to use micro SD cards in an Arduino Uno. I am not sure if i could use the serial values of an accelerometer to modulate pre-recorded sounds.
Another concern, is that the bluetooth speakers aren't loud enough. I will test this out. May need to get an amplifier.
Code for Accelerometer 1: MMA_7455