MakerBot / Arduino music project

I recently completed a project that I’ve been working on at Sector 67 for a few months: an algorithmic audio composition, a MakerBot-printed 3D “score” of the composition, and an Arduino-powered device that coordinates the audio playback of the composition with the movement of a pointer along the score. Here’s a photo of the assembled project:

And here’s a link to the audio: .wav

I synthesized the audio and created the STL model with software of my own design. The piece is called “Ecology No. 9” because it is composed of sonic structures growing, evolving, reproducing, and dying in a manner roughly analogous to that of biological organisms (I’m no biologist, though, and don’t claim any special sophistication or realism for my models!). The electronic component consists of an Arduino + Wave Shield and an Arduino + Motor Shield. The two Arduinos communicate via Bill Porter’s excellent EasyTransfer library. The pointer starts moving when the audio playback begins, and when the playback ends, the pointer rewinds to the start. The audio pauses for a few seconds while this happens, and then the playback cycle resumes. The motion of the pointer is controlled by a stepper motor attached to a belt drive and can thus be precisely calibrated in relation to the audio.

The whole setup was shown (and heard) recently at an exhibition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Art Lofts Studio.

Posted in Arduino, Hardware, Projects, Software
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