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Tonight...
Monday, December 6th 2010 11:55pm
Tags: tonight dorkbot dorkbotpdx pdx portland

Tonight I...

  • ...rode a bicycle across two bridges.
  • ...was approached by a man and a woman (both strangers) and was told "we wish to join the cult".
  • ...witnessed a man tapping a plastic pad connected to a tangle of circuits and wires and causing a drum sound to be played.
  • ...saw a pair of multicolor robot eyeballs glowing on a tabletop
  • ...witnessed a middle-aged man covered in a mass of glowing LEDs and EL wire.
  • ...listened to the sound of a cello convolved with the impulse response from a wooden door.
  • ...helped a woman field test a subversive, covert anti-television teddy bear implant prototype.
  • ...watched a slot car adjust its speed in response to a computer's system load average.
  • ...was in good company.

Dorkbot.

I need practice.

...but this video gives a brief demonstration of the Ghetto Drum System that I built several years ago, and I just recently added MIDI over USB.

The sounds you hear are from a pretty sizable collection of samples ripped from (mostly commodity) synthesizers and played horribly by me in real time.

The Ghetto Drum is triggering MIDI into Pure Data (Pd) in order to play the samples, and the Dickhole Keypiss controller sitting on top of it is used to do bank programming and selection. Audio is routed out of the cheap-o netbook and into an even cheaper guitar amplifier.

I built this little midi controller to trigger samples and control a few Pd parameters:

dickhole keypiss

It's based on an old touchtone telephone keypad, a rotary encoder, a two digit LED display, and a USB-based AVR breakout board (the Teensy++). The PC board was hand-etched at home, and it's mounted in a solid white, repurposed jewelry or makeup box, purchased at the Goodwill.

Click the above to view more images, read the brief technical spec, and to download the code and circuit/pcb design artifacts.

Just a quick peek at the first set of 3 kolpxnty boards that I had fabbed:

kolpxnty

They are not without problems and have not yet been instructed to bend the circuit things, but they will soon.   The above is being driven from Pd via MIDI by way of Benito.

More to come...

Retinal tattoo gun
Wednesday, February 25th 2009 11:22pm
Tags: dorkbotpdx dorkbot portland pdx lightbar

So my pal Mykle has done this EPIC event called LIGHTBAR to cheer people out of their seasonal affective disorder during February in Oregon. If you can't see the victory in building a GIANT and BRIGHT bamboo-event-party-dome, by hand, in the middle of winter, then you need to be poked (with sharp bamboo).

A few of us from dorkbot PDX have been peripherally involved, even contributing some works.

retinal tattoo gun

My friend Brian and I collaborated on a light-based project dubbed the RETINAL TATTOO GUN. The concept involved a series of bright flashes intended to [temporarily] imprint iconic imagery directly into the retina with strong after-images (ghosts).

We had a semi-working prototype up at LIGHTBAR last weekend before it collapsed(!!!) this week. This iteration of the retinal tattoo gun was a pretty big technical failure, but it was a fun project and we have a nice foundation going forward.

The circuit I designed/built had a series of issues, the worst of which was some form of ground bounce or inductive jibber jabber that caused all 8 flash channels to fire when any of them fired. Turns out that yeah, it's nontrivial to sequence a bunch of disposable camera flashes.

The day of installation we also found out that the repurposed viewmaster switch was connected in a way that caused the flashes to trigger when the advancer jobby was directly in front of the slide...so most of the light power was dampened. Whoops, doh!

We hope you enjoy the above image, and we hope to have something dangerous, compelling, and electrical to mount to your face in the near future.


kolpxnty camera phone teaser! from breedx on Vimeo.

I've mostly finished the next phase of the kolpxnty board -- driving the thing from midi over usb from apps like pd (pure-data). In the above clip, a braindead pd patch is sequencing the bowels of a Barbie telephone children's toy without any additional circuit bending bonus points. My video recorder died, so the video was recorded in near darkness on my phone ("Sorry folks!").

The next phase is to see how it can switch in circuit bent components (pitch down resistors/caps, for example) and to shrink the board size before having it fabbed.