M.A.K.E. - Ruth Carruthers

M.A.K.E. - Musical Audio Kinetic Electronics. Students from Ara Music Arts create their own instruments combining the physical with the electronic.

Sound project: Ruth Carruthers

The initial concept I started with was using the pressure inside balloons to control pitch and volume of a synth but the idea evolved in to using a Space Hopper to allow for more movement in the performance.

The volume of the notes would be controlled by sensing the pressure of the air inside the space hopper which would change with weight of the person on it. We first had to test a number of sensor options to fins one which was sensitive enough to detect the small change in pressure inside the hopper. The sensor was then placed in a small 3d printed chamber with a plug that allowed the air from inside the hopper to pressurise the chamber. The pressure information from the sensor travelled via means of an XBee wireless link (a sort of wireless USB cable) to an Arduino board.

The pitch of the notes were controlled via a Pixy camera that allows the tracking of coloured objects. Moving the space hopper left and right increased and decreased the pitch of the note produced. The solid bright colour of the space hopper made it easy for the camera to track. The notes were to sustain so chords could be made and moving the hopper a long way to the right was supposed to reset it but this proved slightly unreliable in practice.

 Using the volume and pitch information the Arduino sent notes to a keyboard connected via midi.

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