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Matrix sound machine: Generative music with a particle system

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This project is a part of experiments done while doing an artist in residence at Instructables. You can see the other projects here.

Creating emergent patterns that can be converted into sounds fascinates me. So this is my first experiment in building an arduino platform for creating such patterns. This version uses a Gameduino as its sound processor and uses particles that bounces around on a led matrix as the interactive sound generators. You can add more particles by pressing the joystick down for two seconds and the joystick serves as a drawing pen to create elements for the particles to bounce on.



As you can see in the video the code is still a little crude and only the first proof of concept for the platform. 

Of similar projects I would recommend you look into: Bloom an iPhone app made by brian Eno and Otomata by earslap.


 
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Step 1: Components needed

Picture of Components needed
ledmatrix.png
The following componets are needed:
  • Prototyping shield.
  • Pin headers
  • Joystick
  • Wires.
  • Led Matrix.
  • Wooden box (I got mine from the container store in San Francisco).
  • Female Jack.
  • Audio wire.
  • Pieces of scrap wood.
  • Semi transparent Acrylic plate.

The electronics can be done with basic soldering tools. The enclosure was made with a laser cutting some acrylics and a drillpress to make holes in the wooden box

Step 2: Mount the led matrix

Adafruit has made a toturial for how to wire up the led matrix. You can find it here. Please refer to how I wired it up in diagram in step 1. If you are going to wire it up according to the Adafruit toturial (see the picture with the jumper wires), then Red = 5v, Black = Ground, White = Pin3, Orange = pin4, Yellow = pin5.

If you want to use your own custom pins you should change this section in the code:

#define DATA 4
#define WR 5
#define CS 3
aaron271811 months ago
two questions
1. Is it suppose to start on it's own or does it need a command to start?
2. Where does the female audio jack attach to?
thanks
Hi, great instructable.

Regarding your square hole question, I know of two methods:

Firstly, there is a machine designed for cutting square holes for mortise and tenon joints. Imagine a drill bit surrounded by four chisels, that's basically it. The hole will be perfectly square.

Secondly, a far more home-friendly option. Drill a hole, the diameter of which should match the length of the side of the square you wish to drill. Then proceed to square it off using a sharp chisel. It's extremely easy to do, especially with the thicknesses of wood you are using here. In thin wood the results will be very good, though not as good as can be achieved with a mortiser as described above. In thicker stock, the chisel has a habit of wandering, so results will be less good with the second method. The first method is largely unaffected.
There's another method, you can actually drill square (or other multi-sided) holes with a special bit(s). just google 'drill square hole'
Indeed, I believe it is based on the releaux triangle. The system is rather expensive unless you have one size hole that you wish to drill.
Indeed, I believe it is based on the releaux triangle. The system is rather expensive unless you have one size hole that you wish to drill.
madshobye (author)  alexhalford1 year ago
"machine designed for cutting square holes for mortise and tenon joints."

Interesting - Do you know what it is called? Links?

Have to try the chisel solution.
It's called a mortiser. Just google images it, you'll get both the machines and the bits.
have you messed around with giving each particle to its own note, which is triggered every time it hits a surface? Then you could pick out a bunch of notes from one chord and have a kind of generative arpeggiated chord played out when the particles are bouncing around.
Also check out the pentatonic scale:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentatonic_scale
tends to sound pretty good no mater what you do with it.
Tomdf1 year ago
I'm also very interested in seeing a video of this. The pictures are fantastic but I think I need a vid to really understand what it does.
madshobye (author)  Tomdf1 year ago
Managed to upload a lower resolution video through the free wifi at San Francisco airport.
madshobye (author)  Tomdf1 year ago
Hey yes uploading videos within the next two days. Just need to travel across the ocean. So 20 hours until I have decent internet again.

Right now the software is crude. It not there yet, but has the potential to become something interesting. You will see when I upload the video.

The gameDuino is a pretty good sound generator so it is "merely" a matter of programming something interesting.
sethcim1 year ago
Can you make videos of this (and your other boxes) in operation? It looks really cool, but I can't tell what it sounds like.
madshobye (author)  sethcim1 year ago
Managed to upload a lower resolution video through the free wifi at San Francisco airport.
madshobye (author)  sethcim1 year ago
The gameDuino is quite powerful, I have programmed a little experiment video. Videos shortly - see above.
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