Final Project: Bacterial Record Player

The bacterial record player is a home audio device that sonifies bacterial colonies. ‘Records’ are produced by collecting bacterial samples from the body and environment and incubating them on agar plates. Each culture sounds unique.

Vimeo / Thomas Eliot – via Iframely


How it works:

Agar plates can be inserted into the viewing chamber, where photographs are taken with a canon DSLR. There is a python backend that uses gphoto2 to control the camera, and OpenCV to process the image. A 4-connectivity algorithm is implemented to detect bacterial colony areas and locations. Colony data is transmitted to Processing via OpenOSC. The colonies are drawn in Processing, and can be interacted with. Clicking on a colony causes that colony to propogate outwards, creating tones whenever the wave intersects with another colony. Tones are created by stretching or shortening a 2 second 440Hz sinusoid clip. The pitch of the tone is based on the proportions of the areas of the expanding and colliding bacteria.



The setup gave some nice photographs of the colonies themselves, too


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