Ping Pong Raspberry Pi

Uncategorized — amyfried @ 3:11 pm


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Concept: The main concept was to create a ping pong game using openFrameworks, raspberry pi, and 3 inputs from sensors or buttons.

Process: I began with using one button to change the color of an ellipse from red to green when pushed. Next I added in a rectangle to move up and down when the button is pressed, I also changed the code of the ellipse to add speed to its x and y directions. When the ellipse hits the edges of the preset window it bounces off at an angle. When I got that to run I added a second button and another rectangle to be moved up and down by the push of the button. Finally I attached a potentiometer to increase the ellipses speed when the potentiometer is moved (digitalWrite set on HIGH).

Lessons Learned: This was my first time working with a raspberry pi, and openFrameworks. I have been familiar with Arduino, and Processing 2.0, but it was a new experience to work in openFrameworks which allows to work in unison the elements of the other programs. In order for me to understand openFrameworks I went step by step to add elements to the program to expand upon. In processing I would be able to make a rectangle in Center Mode, but errors kept occurring so I couldnt utilize this in openFrameworks. Next I tried to create collisions by determining the distance between the center of the ellipse and the length of the pong paddles. In Processing 2.0 I would just use dist() to determine this number, but in openFrameworks I had trouble using this command to work for me. I also found out that to create collisions one should use the gravity tool, but I couldnt figure out how to use this function also.

Homemade Microphones and Pickups Workshops

Uncategorized — Jakob Marsico @ 10:43 pm

Local musician and analog electronics guru Michael Johnsen will be teaching a series of workshop on homemade microphones at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (nearby in Shadyside). Here is a link to more information about the class. If you can fit it into your schedule, I highly recommend you consider taking this non-CMU course.

mics flyer_2014 fall

Flicker Deck

Uncategorized — rbrill @ 11:37 am

Flicker Deck Demonstration from Ryan B. on Vimeo.



Skateboarding is fun, but participating in the sport comes with a good deal of risk. The biggest dangers are uneven pavement and passing cars. Uneven and cracked pavement reduces the control of skateboarders and can cause crashes in cases of extreme speed and very poor asphalt. Cars often do not see skateboarders or do not know how much space to give them.

Flicker Deck highlights rough pavement as a skateboarder passes over it. LEDs provide a visual indicator of rough pavement to those riding behind the owner of a Flicker Deck and surrounding cars. This information lets other riders better plan their path downhill and lets nearby cars know that the skateboarder has less control and should be given more attention or a wider berth.

Flicker Deck users a small microphone to translate the vibrations created by riding over rough pavement to red light. I chose red light for this project because it mimics the behavior of car brake lights and can take advantage of an already existing mental model. Drivers are trained to slow down when they see red brake lights suddenly brighten in front of them

Flicker Deck was inspired by Project Aura, a bike light that illuminates wheels based on the speed of the cyclist.

I was also interested in the idea of translating the micro-topography of our roads into another form of information. Long boarders gain a very intimate knowledge of the characteristics of the roads around them, and I like the idea of sharing that knowledge with others.

If I were going to extend this project, I would add a module that tracks and stores location and vibration data and use the information gathered over time to map pavement quality in an area. This information could be used by other long boarders to plan routes and by local governments to plan road maintenance.

How it Works

A protective case secured to the bottom of the deck houses a microprocessor, a 9V battery and microphone. The microphone is secured behind a small hole cut in the side of the case. This hold provides clearer input for the microphone and lets it pick up the noise made by passing cars.

The microprocessor takes the amplitude of the sound picked up by the microphone and outputs a corresponding level of power to a string of LEDs that emerge from a small slot cut into the case and wrap around the bottom of the skateboard. By wrapping the LEDs around the trucks of the board I was able to get the translucent wheels to glow along with the ground.

Sing To Me

Uncategorized — ygk @ 9:17 am

There is a common myth that plants will grow faster when you sing to them often. This flower guarantees you its blossom, that is if you are able to sing it the right song.

Well, luckily you get to pick that song. You can be that special person to make this flower blossom. You can put this flower next to other flowers so that you can get that instant blossom gratification from your beautiful singing efforts, and simultaneously test out that myth…I think my basil plant grew faster this week?

Project01: “isnOre” By Amy Friedman (2014)

Uncategorized — amyfried @ 6:36 am

isnOre from Amy Friedman on Vimeo.


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I hate when someone is sleeping in the same room as me and snores. It gives me a headache, I cant sleep at all and I am always cranky the next day no matter what. isnOre is a device to detect snoring and inflicts disturbance to those who snore so they understand the impact it has upon others. Once isnOre detects snoring an alarm is set off and based on the origin of the noise, isnOre spins to face the device and sets off a water gun to spray the snorer and annoy them.


I began with figuring out my initial concept by looking at precedence and creating a blog of  “Precedent Analysis” of what the capabilities of a microphone input can be.  Then I chose to focus on snoring as it has always been an issue I have had when trying to sleep. From that point I began to look for what elements I needed to create the product and what the outputs should be to inflict pain/annoy snorers. I looked at dart guns, stun guns, shocks, water guns, and they came down to an alarm system that outputs a buzz. I then figured out the sequence of events and began to sketch out forms to maximize the effect and input of each sensor based on placement.

photo 1 photo 4

I created a cardboard prototype to understand the design better and used plans and sections to determine the dimensions of each element in the space. Next I created a 3D model of the design and used it to make a laser cutter file so I could utilize the laser cutter to cut acrylic.

Lessons learned:

I learned that a one week turn around time is hard to accomplish, but manageable as long as you dont attempt something that is too far out of reach to achieve. I learned that no matter how well designed the 3D model, and laser cutter file there will always need to be adjustments. I need to make sure to understand the cut of the laser better when putting pieces together. Using a microphone was a new experience for me and there are lots of manipulations that can be done using arduino and other programs that I want to explore and find out.

Project 1 – The Bird AntiFeeder

Project01,Uncategorized — alanhp @ 11:43 pm

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The bird antifeeder is a high-tech system that prevents birds from eating your food. You can see the above video for a demo of the system in action… The high-tech part is not true though, actually the bird antifeeder is a playful work that resulted from a combination of a short timeframe, a limited availability of resources (laser cutters on campus) and a need to quickly familiarize myself with a technology (piezo contact microphones).

I started the project knowing only that I had to sense something using a microphone and that I had to respond to what I sensed in some non-screen based way. Initially I wanted to sense ants walking on a surface and using this information I wanted to send a notification or give some kind of signal for people to become aware of ants walking on a surface which in itself is interesting because it is something we are rarely paying attention to. This was inspired by the much better and thoughtful projects by Prof. Ali Momeni. Again, because of the short timeline, for me this project was much more focused on learning how to sense using a contact microphone than it was about developing a strong concept.

Quickly, it became evident that sensing the walk of ants would be quite challenging with the technology I had, particularly because of the limited strength of the vibrations generated by ants walking which I intended to sense with the contact microphone. Despite having found a metallic material with nice vibrating properties, the task was out of the scope of the project because of how much more thought and testing would have been necessary.

With this information, I re-scoped the project to a much more manageable objective: to sense the vibrations generated by birds landing on a surface and to respond to this vibration in some way. This decision was taken after talking with Jake on the weekend before the due date for the project. After figuring out the amplitude sensing thresholds and getting a servo motor working, I set on to build an encasing in which all the components could be placed. The laser cutters around campus where all booked and the project was due the day after which is when I had to go back to the famous “its better done than perfect” which I agree sometimes with.

My arts and crafts skills are not super great though so as I continued to make my project’s box, it looked more and more like a ten year old had made it. With little time remaining and the idea that I wanted the project to feel like a unified and deliberate work, I embraced the child-like aesthetic all the way and decorated the project so that it looked like a cool addition to a kid’s treehouse.

That is the story of the bird antifeeder, a high-tech system to scare away the birds who want to eat your food. Lessons learned, sometimes it is indeed better done than perfect, humor is always good, follow intuition sometimes, if you can’t get what you need figure out how to make it work with what you got, keep in mind the scope of each project.

puts down mic…


NOTE: images are HD but for some reason not displaying as such. Click on each to see high-res.

Simple Arduino Sketch Example

Uncategorized — Jakob Marsico @ 11:31 am


Project01 Precedent Studies

Precedent Analysis,Project01,Uncategorized — Dan Russo @ 5:38 am


Date: July 2014

Project: Light House

Creator: SOFTlab

The purpose of this installation was to respond to real time sound input from equipment and live performances.  It was the intention of  SOFTlab to create an environment which visually displayed characteristics of music being played at SONOS.  This project engages music in a very unique way that goes beyond a visualizer.  The complexity of the patterns made by the lights and the depth of input make the installation very responsive.  The complexity of the display, and how it physically relates to the sound itself is great aspect to further investigate and think about going forward.



Date: 2012 

Project: VERSUS.

Creator: David Letellier

The purpose of this installation was to explore sound as a constantly evolving system.  The artist wanted to create a space that started with one sound, but built the ambient sound of the space on top of each subsequent recording.  One side will record the other, and then play it back for the opposing side.  This creates an ever evolving loop that includes all active participants and the space itself.  The idea that the character of a space can be displayed and collected in a compressed auditory manner is very intriguing.  The idea of creating opposing components that build on each other makes it a valuable piece to study.




Date: August 2011

Project: Interactive Robot Painting Machine

Creator: Benjamin Grosser


This piece of interactive art turns sound into a visual painting.  It was the intention of the artist to expand the boundary of interaction between music and visual art.  This project uses genetic algorithms to process audio data into a painting style.  This style becomes a evolving guideline for the image output.  The robotic system uses a controlled paint brush on canvas to generate the visuals.  This project displays a very unique way of processing audio input into a framework of guidelines.  Studying this project may be helpful to clearly define a relationship between an input and output.


Uncategorized — jazares @ 2:59 am

Mogees – Gesture recognition with contact-microphones from bruno zamborlin on Vimeo.

Date: February 27, 2012
Project: Mogees
Creator: Bruno Zamborlin

Mogee allows any surface to become a platform for creating sounds and music. By using a contact microphone, gestures are recorded and interpreted by software to turn them into specific sounds. The project creator wants to give people the ability to create music in any setting through interaction with the environment. This product is great because anyone can use it, not just those with a musical background. Bruno Zamborlin’s Mogee could be useful for my future projects because it is engaging, targets a broad audience, and changes the way people perceive music using a contact microphone device.  A drawback of this device is that it is very disruptive to the surround environment.

Read More


Synesthetic Timeline @ Fraport Airport (2013) from james clar on Vimeo.

Date: July 10, 2013
Project: Synesthetic Timeline
Creator: James Clar

James Clar is an artist who visualizes sounds from the surrounding environment using a combination of computers, microphones, and LED lights. This light structure provides real-time feedback of ambient sounds. The one problem I see with this project is that it’s an art installation and not necessarily a functional design. Therefore, effectively communicating noise level to a broad audience is not his first priority. However, I am attracted to this work because it uses a combination of visual design and technical skill to create something people can appreciate. One thing I can borrow from this project is its focus on great aesthetics.

Read more


Date: May 10, 2013
Project: Eidos Futuristic Headgear
Creators: Tim Bouckley, Millie-Clive Smith, Mi Eun Kim and Yuta Sugaware of Royal College of Art and Imperial College London

Eidos Audio is a wearable device that enables the user to use selective hearing. It is similar to noise cancelling headphones, except for the specific sound the user wants to hear. The device uses three microphones (Left, Right, Middle) to detect sound, and its software filters out noise from the left and right microphones. However, sounds detected from the middle microphone are directly outputted through the internal middle speaker (located near the mouth) allowing the user to only hear noises right in front of him or her. I like this project because it has many practical applications and solves a problem many people have. A drawback is the inherent function of the device itself. By eliminating “unwanted” sounds, a person’s experience and perception of an event is severely altered. This may have negative consequences on how the user may act. In addition, the creator could have made the device less cumbersome because it looks like a giant hockey mask. This project gave me a new perspective because I learned microphone can also be used to eliminate sound, not just detect it.

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“SpiroSmart: using a microphone to measure lung function on a mobile phone” Eric C. Larson, et al (2012)

Uncategorized — rodolfog @ 1:50 am

Link to paper. SpiroSmart is a technology that allows users to test pulmonary function by blowing into a microphone on a cell phone. The project uses a custom mobile application that measures input from the phone’s built-in mic. The intention of the project was to determine whether at home spirometry could be a viable option to measure health related outcomes. I was attracted to this project because it was such a simple yet powerful way of using existing technology to improve health.

TransWall, Heejeong Heo, et al (2013)

Link to project. This project utilizes a transducer to detect vibrations on a transparent glass panel. I thought this project was an interesting way of communicating with people and interfaces in a more immersive way. Microphones are attached to either side of the panel and allows users to communicate “through” the wall.

Making: CONTACT, Felix Faire (2014)

This project is aimed at turning normal every day surfaces into an audio interface that users can interact with both visually and haptically.  I thought that this project was a creative exploration in converting mundane objects into sources of creativity. It was also interesting in that it turned those surfaces into their own type of “products”. It brought the creative/play process into the immediate environment.



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