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Playable-ish Prototype,and a note on Contribution

Wow! It's really starting to come together!  I underestimated the refinement of these xbee wireless modules.  In my experience, when configuring a new component, in a chain of components, get ready to want to stab yourself with a soldering iron.  Usually the process is so convoluted and horribly documented, that you just give up.  Not so with these xbee modules. Although I did have to download some firmware updates, the majority of the process has been to determine which is the base station and which is the "radio”, and assign each an ID. A bit more config later and viola! A wireless serial link!!  Yaaaaay!!!

 The base station consists of an xbee on a breadboard and a little usb interface I wired up.  The "radio" is attached to an arduino with a built in xbee port.  I wired up an old 3.7v battery (so glad I didn't throw that old ipaq away) so I could test the distance and so far, it is flawless.  And addictive.  I thought I’d prototype on the wired "UNO" board, but screw that! This is so much cooler and lets me get used to dealing with whatever idiosyncrasies born of this type of wireless networking.

 Although not even slightly perfect or "gig-able"(meaning that I would feel comfortable playing it in a performance), the fingering system is working.  I have, thus far, purchased 3 sets of (cheap) switches to prototype with and none of them have done what I wanted, so I decided to make my own by using gummy gamepad controller buttons(seen here pinned to the breadboard, "bug-collection" style) to complete a circuit made up of two pieces of wire.  Not perfect, but much more accurate than the switches I’ve used so far.  My original idea was to make little thimble-like fingertip sleeves that would be conductive. This would negate any mechanical button/switch latency.  It would be as fast as my fingers could move and would allow me to position my fingers in various ways. I may re-investigate that trajectory.

The joystick is still acting as my breath control variable until I can purchase another one. The one I have needed too much air to make it work...and then I blew it up (now with the new multimeter, that's less of a problem).  So the joystick is working out well at this stage.  There is still much to do in any case.

·         make the wind controller software work as well or better than my existing wind controller
·         start building the new performance system that the wind controller patch will be a part of
·         create the color synthesis system which will provide feedback and narrative potential
·         source the remaining components for JUST 1 PROTOTYPE which include;
o    2 more xbees (one for each hand and one for the helmet)
o    2 more arduinos (one for the hand unit and one for the helmet/headset)
o    2 accelerometers
o    6 regular rgb led's
o    8 3watt LEDs
o    the pressure sensor for breath
o    the hall effect sensor for lip
o    2 high capacity batteries (one for each hand)
o    And a ridiculous amount if switches, buttons, and joysticks to assess what is usable in a performance environment and what's not.
·         Clay, plaster, fiberglass, epoxy and carbon fiber for sculpting the hand unit and the next "few" helmet prototypes.
·         And space to build this monster.  I hope to move it to BetaHaus next week, if I receive the amount of funds necessary.
The above list is primarily for the PROTOTYPE.  This is why I made the project for the amount that I made it for.  I want to have a playable...oops, I mean to say gig-able, prototype before my performance and discussion panel appearance at CeBit on March 1st.  This is a perfect place to show the TRON Beatjazz Controller for the first time, although it won’t be anywhere near as epic as the debut party in May;-)

I really hope that you have seen enough progress so far that you can see that this isn’t some vaporware project.  I was lucky that indiegogo released the PayPal donated funds to me instantly, otherwise it would have been a month of pure data patches and drawings.  Because I had access to some of the funds, I have been able to start on the project and it has been AMAZING.  The support, the interest...I mean, MAN! I’m WRITING AN ARTICLE FOR MAKE MAGAZINE!! This, to me, is a major honor!! BUT, it is only just “before” the actual beginning.  I have generated less than 1/10th of what I need to make this project great.

Every contribution generated penny so far, has been put into this project. Every penny of my own funds I have made for the last 2 months, that wasn't necessary for staying alive, has gone into this project.  I want to believe that whole "independent artist" thing is realistic.  I have stated this in previous posts; YOU are my patron.  Yes YOU...stop looking around...YOU, the one reading this right now.  There is no big deal or movie or concert tour coming.  There is me, doing the most artistically interesting projects I can dream up (of which there are many)...and you.  If you support me, I can tell you; this shit will be better than anything on TV and last for as long as I have breath.

Support is contributions but it’s also, sharing and interaction.  If you read how much I post online, you'll see that I really love this new world that is emerging there.  I love interacting online.  It’s a big part of my life.  If you find what I am doing interesting, share it!  I’ve got a million widgets. Reverbnation, Facebook, Bandcamp, etc.  This is how it works these days.  Sharing and interacting. 

But if you contribute (if this sounds too spammy for you, it's probably best if you not follow me anymore because these campaigns and projects aren’t going away.) you get a number of things;
·         To be part of the making of a new instrument to coincide with a new form of music. If you think that's "bombastic", peep my videos and my music.  This will be something you will be proud you contributed to and...
·         You can buy one of the controllers!! So you're not just helping in the creation, but you can get one of the artifacts!  The wired version($400) will be sick but the wireless version($800) will welcome you into a new world inspired by afro-futurism and sci-fi.  And with both, I will spend quality face time online helping you do amazing stuff with it.
·         My forthcoming Book, The 21st century Musicians Guide to Busking, ($50)isn’t just a how to; it also makes a case for expanding your concepts of what is possible with live performance in the 21st century.  Like I said, this is the world now and we all must reorient.  20 years of experience crammed into one book!
·         The DVD($25) has a printable version of the book! As well as loads of music, notes on all kinds of stuff, a loops collection (I did one loop collection for Marshall Jefferson and Loopmasters already), pure data patches, editorials...if I could download onto a disc, this is what it would be!
·         5 hours of studio time($200) is a lot of studio time!  Quite a few sessions can be done in that amount of time and I usually charge more than that PER TRACK.  If you have wanted to do some work with me, this is as good as it’s gonna get.  There’s enough time in there for multi-part arrangement too!
·         and for that special person who goes for the ultimate package($5000), we're talking basically getting a copy of my personal, afro-futuristic super instrument and 2 full access days of me helping you not just learn it, but learn how and why and when the whole concept first evolved! 

3 more days!  This is where it all comes together!  Its either the sickest live performance system ever, or I start selling all my stuff to make it happen, because this thing is getting built-and in the next 30-60 days-on schedule (as are the fulfillment of all Perks associated with this campaign).  If you were waiting for a good time to jump in, now it that time.  Ok, sales pitch over.  I’ve got programming to do. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. www.indiegogo.com/tronbeatjazz

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