Assignment 8: Kinematic Sound

Using an Arduino and mechanical/kinematic devices, create sounds that map to machine states or input streams.  Interrupt driven sounds are also good.  Create a language of sequences or sounds that you can easily demonstrate in class.

Look for diversity in sound sources: bells, knockers, spinning motors or steppers that drive devices that make repetitive sounds.

Class Notes: 7 November, 2019

Playing catch-up on a variety of topics.

Not discussed in class: hiding things in plain sight sometimes using asshat mobile phone “security”.  Any physical penetration tester could find/defeat these within minutes but a drunk person at a party would not do so well.  John Wick had a good plan.

Foley artists creating the sounds of weather.

The Arduino guide to handling debounce on switches.

A mapping of western scale notes to frequencies.

The Sound Noise Device that uses cameras to create animation and sound.

It’s easy to create sounds without speakers:


Class Notes: 4 November, 2019

Sound sources

Please watch the shorter ones, I linked to a couple of > 1 hour sources for future reference.

Experimental / avant-garde sound

Mark Applebaum’s experimental instruments and scoring.

Nikoli Voinov who composed music by drawing on paper, creating animation that made sound.

Musique concrete using early technology to record and modify sound, including the original soundtrack to “Doctor Who”.  Some great examples of recording found sound and reusing it for music.

Avant-garde and futurism is a rather wide grouping, like saying “rock” or “country”:

Using street technology to change and create new genres of music.  Entertainment and environmental sounds can come from other contexts with the use of equipment to record, store, modify, and replay.

Turntables used to create hip hop and the 1.5 hour documentary.

The Orchestral Hit

The Amen Break

Genre conflation

This is a counter to sampling and using electronics to invent new music.  Instruments from one style of music are used to perform a style of music from a completely unrelated genre.  My favorite example is “pirate metal” or the band Orkestra Obsolete playing famous pop music.

Assignment 7: sound over time, sound-by-interrupt

Due next Tuesday.

For this assignment, using an Arduino, generate sound-over-time and sound-by-interrupt that conveys meaning, feeling, or specific content.  You can generate sound with a speaker or a kinetic device (ex: door chime) or some other novel invention.

This is a good time to use push buttons or other inputs to trigger sound and another input to define the type of sound.

My example in class was how my phone *doesn’t* do this well.  If I am listening to music and someone rings my doorbell at home, my phone continues to play music *and* the doorbell notification sound at the same time.  What it should do is stop the music, play the notification, then give me the opportunity to talk to the person at the door, then continue playing music.

Class notes: 31 October, 2019

Starting Sound

Why is sound important?  We have binaural hearing and can point to the direction of a sound without any practice.

How do you “close your earlids” when you go to sleep?  How do children learn to speak?   Leonard Bernstein’s experiments with making sounds like a child and how common those sounds might be across cultures.

Close your eyes after following links in this section. don’t worry about the visual details and information, this is learning to understand sound and signals.

Classes of sounds (one view)

Signals / alerts — short sounds that transfer information

Songs and patterns that transfer information over time

We have a history of using air raid sirens from WWI and WWII as a means to notify the population of an area of an event or condition.

  • air raid siren, dual pitch  — my borough uses one of these at 9:45pm to signal curfew hours for children.  The local volunteer fire department have a different one they use to alert volunteers to a fire.
  • tornado sirens used to notify a town/area of a possible tornado

Music and entertainment

Psychological effects of sound

Is it genetics that cause us to respond to the sound of a crying human baby?  Can you think of an “angry” noise?  A “happy” noise? a “relaxing” noise?

Sketches, Fritzing, and 3d models

Sketches from sound-class-1 (including one I DID NOT show in class) and Fritzing a speaker to a transistor.

3d printed air raid sirens.

Crit 2: Kinetic

Due 11:59pm, 28 October.

Combine kinetic inputs, outputs, data, and state machines to create a physically interactive system that changes interaction based on inputs and logic.

The example I gave early this semester was a “doorbell” for someone who cannot hear.

Inputs: doorbell, physical knock, person detector

Interaction: use inputs to determine output.  Doorbell + no person detected means someone rang the bell and walked away, was this a UPS/FedEx delivery?  Knock and person is there, is someone coming to visit?  To sell a product?  “Secret” knock pattern used by friends and a person is there, one of your friends has come to visit.

Output: Create appropriate output for the results of the interaction process.  UPS/FedEx drop off is lower priority than a friend coming for a visit.

Class notes: 22 October, 2019

Kinetic Input/Output

The Demo”, showing off the mouse, chord keyboard, and social media.

Accessibility / Inclusion

Microsoft’s Inclusion and a PDF copy of their book.

What is accessible?

Are 30mm arcade buttons are accessible? Do they simply nterrupt or do they provide constant state?  Are the buttons convex or concave?  How high are the guards around the buttons?  If you want to use Universal Design, how do you decide how big the button should be and where it’s located?

What is wrong with the E-Stop button in A10?

  • Unlit
  • Recessed button “hidden” in a guard
  • No signage on the wall like we have with fire extinguishers

Are controls like buttons the wrong answer?  Is better output the way to go?

tactile maps

presentation of research data on tactile map comparison

tactile graphics using “swell paper”

3d printing reference objects for the blind — what does a snowflake look like?  A butterfly?  A sailboat?


Kinetic crit on 29 Oct.  Thursday office hours + Thursday class is a work day.