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:


Inspiration for this week: dada

George Antheil composed this piece for a variety of mechanical instruments including player pianos, an airplane propeller, and a siren. It was originally for a film, but the score works on its own.

He also co-invented frequency hopping for steering torpedos (with Hedy Lamarr)!

I got to see a “live” fully automated performance of this at the national gallery many years ago:

How much time is left on my timer?


I often set alarms and timers to leave for class or meetings. What I’ve realized over time is that I misjudge the amount of time that has passed on the timer and I am often not ready to move onto the next task/ leave the house when the timer goes off. Traditionally, you would have to physically go check the timer and now you can ask Alexa how much time is left on your timer. However, both of these require initiation of the interaction from the user and not from the timer. I wanted to create a timer which would notify me every quarter of the way through the set time.

My Solution

I used a Arduino Uno, a Piezo Speaker and a potentiometer. The potentiometer was used to set the length of the timer. The Piezo speaker played the arpeggio of a scale. After a fourth of the time had passed it played the 1st note, after half the time it played the first 2 notes etc. This gave a sense of finality to the end of the timer as it would start at C4 and end at C5.

Assignment7 Files

Link to Video


A suggestion was made to link this to my google calendar which I thought it was a great idea. Another awesome suggestion was have it notify me exponentially so that as it got closer and closer to the end of the timer there would me many more notifications.




Adjustable Audio Speed for Clear Information Delivery


Audio announcements are often used to deliver information to a large group of people; airports, restaurants, stores, and museums are all prime examples of areas where this is common practice. However, since people have different preferences as well as linguistic and cognitive ability, these sorts of audio announcements would be made more accessible if people were able to control certain aspects of this audio.

Proposed Solution:

My proposed solution is demonstrated rather simply, and takes advantage of the Arduino tone function’s use of internal time keeping. This allows a looped audio track (that represents an announcement in this case) to be interrupted at any time to change its speed. Using a potentiometer, users can change the speed of the audio by a factor between 0 and 2 times.

Proof of Concept:

Fritzing Sketch and Arduino Code

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 07: Control(play/pause) music through gestures


For this assignment, I focused on gesture interaction – which is my current interest – and I thought that gesture interaction has powerful strengths compared to others. It is fast and quiet. Also, it overcomes physical distance so that we could control things without actually touching them.

I came up with a situation when we are listening to music through a speaker or watching TV, we become difficult to hear other sounds. When someone calls us or other situations that we have to urgently stop the music and focus on other sounds, it is sometimes really difficult to do it fast. If we are using a laptop to listen to music, we have to find the mute or pause button and then push it with our hands – which takes much more attention (sight, physical) and time. When we watching TV or listening to music through a smartphone, it will be similar.

General Solution

Thus, I decided to use gesture control to stop the music quickly and urgently. By raising a hand and making a fist, which I thought that it is intuitive for humans to stop something, users could pause the music. After it is paused, using the same gesture, they could play the music again.

Proof of Concept

In order to track the hand gestures, I used the Leap Motion sensor. It is really easy to pause and play music using simple gestures. I wanted to design new types of gestures to make the gesture interaction more natural and intuitive. However, other than the created database of hand gestures, it seems like it requires to create my own database, which was challenging to me.

Codes & Video


Assignment 7: Kitchen Bells

State Machine: Ovens

Problem: While cooking, a chef must keep an eye on two different temperatures in order to make sure what put in an oven is cooked through. The oven temperature is easy enough, most ovens print their temperature on an LCD screen and some even “beep” when it reaches a target temperature. That’s great, but the more important number, one could argue, is the internal temperature of whatever is in the oven. How can someone keep track of that temperature without opening the oven to check/disturbing the oven temperature?

General solution: A (5 year from now quality) temperature sensor that transmits the food’s internal temperature and translates its “done-ness” not through numbers, but through sound frequency. Sound would potentially allow for a better gradient for understanding where your food is at in its cooking progression and it would also allow chefs to know the status at all times even if they leave the room or start looking at other things in the kitchen. 

Proof of Concept: My system utilized the following components:

  • A temperature sensor: used to read ambient temperature in the demo, but symbolizes the internal temperature of a food
  • Servo: acts as output mechanism to create sound patterns to relay information about food’s cooking state
    • Right now, I have the delays set up based on different ranges between the “final temperature” of your food and its “current temperature”. For the servo, it makes the most sense because it would be pretty difficult to distinguish between single digits on angles of rotation (frequency) as opposed to how often it oscillates between two points. If I would have used a speaker, I probably would have set it up so that the frequency/pitch of the sound generated by the temperature difference acts as a gradient because it is relatively easier to tell if a sound is getting higher or lower-pitched (even for the musically-challenged like myself). 
  • Push button: acts as an interrupt that signifies opening the oven, thus alerting the user that something is wrong (like they left the oven open or someone else checked)

Further Development: With the servo, if I would have had fewer things to work on this weekend, you could also turn this system into a set of chimes so that you aren’t working with mechanical sounds as an output. You could string pieces of metal or glass or other things around the servo and they could hit each other to produce more delicate/harsh/whatever-kind-of-sound-you-want-for-your-home sounds.


Apple Alert System


iPhone’s have embedded in them a system for notifying users of when serious events are happening nearby (ex. AMBER alert, flash flooding, dust storms, tornadoes). Because the notification system is the same sound and vibration pattern across all of the scenarios, people may be numbed to the alert over time and can begin to ignore it. In addition, because the alerts are the same, the sound and vibration don’t convey information that may be more specific to inform users, for example people who are visually impaired, of what is wrong.

A General Solution:

A device that would interrupt the current happenings of the device to communicate the alerts to the user using specific tonalities to convey the urgency of the scenario, as well as give an indication as to what is happening. This would be ideally done through a combination of sound and vibration to make sure that people would be able to both hear the audio feedback and feel the vibrations to comprehend the scenario.

Proof of Concept:

An Arduino with potentiometers to represent the volume that the user prefers to listen music to and their proximity in relation to the danger in the case of a flash flood, tornado, or dust storm, three switches to serve as input for what alert is in effect, and one button to represent when there is an alert in effect. In regards to output, the system will need to output sound through a speaker and would ideally be extended to include vibration.

Fritzing Sketch:

The Fritzing sketch shows how the potentiometers, switches, and button are set up to feed information into the Arduino as well as how the speaker is connected to the Arduino to receive outputs. Not pictured, is that the Arduino would have to be connected to a power source.

Proof of Concept Sketches:

The user’s phone receives information regarding the alerts automatically and that information is converted into specific audio and (hopefully) vibration feedback for the user, so that they immediately know the situation and whether or not they should respond.

Proof of Concept Video:



Assignment 7: Stop Dancing and Listen


If you’re at a dance or somewhere crowded, how do you alert the masses without causing a panic?


This project uses interrupts to stop a melody and buzzes, slowly increases in pitch to gain people’s attention. In future iterations, the device could sense when room is quiet the switch to playing the message that was needed to get everyone’s attention.

Proof of Concept

I used the potentiometer to control the speed of the melody and the buzzer intervals.