Making a plant sing has been a trick since the Theremin was invented. Here I am going to teach you how to do this with and arduino board, a gameduino shield and a the touch shield from my previous instructable.
A short introduction to capacitance
If two objects are conductive you can measure the capacitance between them (e.g. objects like: metal, water, human bodies and plants). By connecting a capacitance sensor to a plant we can detect if people are touching it and convert the touch into sound. Normally you would do this with a theremin like interface.
With the introduction of the touché frequency principle by Disney Research lab we can now make a really stable solution that can run entirely on the Arduino platform. The Touché works on a similar principle as a normal theremin, but does a frequency sweep instead. By hooking the touché up to the plant we can measure the capacitative interaction and convert it into sound.
The singing plant as an artistic project has been done with multiple people as a member of illutron. I will just credit af few key people who I have worked with: Åsmund Boye Kverneland, Nicolas Padfield, Thomas Jørgensen, Schack Lindemann, Thor Lentz, DZL, Vanessa Carpenter
Step 1: Components and Tools
- Homemade touche shield (Instructable can be found here)
- Gameduino (We are going to use it for sound).
- Two buttons.
- A couple of Alligator clips.
- Two banana connectors.
- Enclosure (I used a wooden box from http://www.containerstore.com/welcome.htm)
Components needed for the touche shield:
- Prototyping shield
- Pin headers
- Resister: 10k, 1MOmh, 3,3k
- Capacitor: 100pf, 10nf
- Diode: 1N4148 diode
- Coil / inductor: 10mH (cypax.dk part no: 07.055.0510)
- Basic soldering tools.
- Wood working tools.
Step 2: Touche Shield
Step 3: Making the TouchÃ© Shield and the GameDuino Play Nice Together.
Here are the steps:
- Bend pin nine on the gameduino out. Be aware that it will break if you bend it back and forth.
- Connect a wire from the bend out pin on the gameduino board to pin four on the Arduino board.
- Connect another wire from pin nine on the arduino to the pwm pin on the touch shield.
For it to work we need to make sure the Gameduino library communicates properly on pin 4 instead of pin nine. I have included a customized library for that.
Step 4: Connect the Two Shields and Upload the Code
The 3 things that usually cause trouble:
- On windows you have to install the proper drivers (sometimes also on mac).
- Remember to select the right serial port in the gui.
- Remember to select the right board in the gui.
Below are the simplified steps to uploading the code to your Arduino board:
Step 5: Visualizing the Code and Calibrating It With Guino
You can find the the Instructable here on how to use it. It is really simple to get up and running and it enables you to control some of the internal values. Download the program from here and run the program (you have already installed the libraries in the previous steps).
Step 6: Creating an Enclosure
Step 7: Drill a Square Hole for the Arduino Usb Cable
Start out by marking with a pen the approximate area where the hole should be. Then drill many, many tiny holes inside this area. Since it can be tricky to get the precise placement of the square hole I usually compare it to the Arduino board to see what areas I am missing. When you have drilled enough holes for the wood to be porous then use the larger drill bit to remove all the loose bits.
I would love to hear if anybody has a better way to do this?