Art imitates art; What the Campaign Contributor Beatjazz controller will look like
There are 15 days left to get in on the action!. the campaign to build to most amazing life performance system ever, is still building momentum with a few upcoming TV appearances and some cool new developments to be dropped on you shortly. but today i wanted to give you a peek at what the “Contributor” beatjazz controller will look like.
There are two distinct aspects of this campaign; there is the one i have harped on about for the last 2 months, the afro-helmet-centric, cyborg version which is the version i will be using to explore this new world we’re creating. but there is the other one you have seen glimpses of in sketches. it is the “Contributor” beatjazz control system. this is the controller that I build for you as a means of financing the primary system. as much as 40% of the total of the contributions generated, will be spent on creating amazing controllers for those that helped make the beatjazz system a reality. much of that is on creating a geek heirloom in the form of its all carbon fiber construction.
I had to take some time to contemplated this properly. carbon fiber is very cool but there are rules to working with it. carbon fiber is a very very strong and light cloth-like material that is is placed onto a mold so it can take the form of that mold, then it is permeated with a resin that dries makes it keep the form you have chosen. afterward, you coat it with a polyurethane coat to make it durable (and shiny) extremely light and strong, but for one thing, unless you want to create and destroy molds between each molding the molds must be created at a “draft angle” meaning molded around it in such a way that it can be removed after the molding process has finished. also, there are issues with carbon fiber particles and fumes from the resin, so a proper workshop is an absolute must. these and other issues were concerns from the beginning, especially the draft angle thing, so i needed to ponder that for a bit.
But yesterday i felt compelled to make a run over to Modulor (local arts supply super store here in Berlin) and buy some actual modelling clay rather than to make the toilet paper-mache based stuff i made in the winter. i wanted something i could change or destroy at a later time so i opted for regular ole modelling clay, aluminum wire and metal screen material and spent the whole day realizing the version from the sketch. I was amazed at how well Loganic’s sketch translated to a real world model. everything was exactly as it should be. in addition, many design tweaks from the cardboard version-the bottle cap-based palm centering mechanism, joystick placement, light placement, finger leveraging points-are all implemented and translate very well although predictably very heavy-3kg of clay were harmed in the building of this model.
So, the contributor controller will consist of the two hand units made of carbon fiber, all user-servicable internals (arduino fios, xbee series 1 transcievers, accelerometers built onto sparkfun breakoutboards, slotted, non-permanent FSR slots, etc), with custom joystick attachments (I will be printing these with the 3d printer i am looking to acquire for this project), and adjustable strap and palm placement for use with any reasonably sized hand (if your hands are too big or small for an alto saxophone, some custom adjustment will be neccessary). there will be 2 leds´per hand, one for user reference and one high output one on front for scaring small animals and frying ants.
It will also come with the “Jawbone” oral interface. this will have an rgb LED as well as the same arduino fio/xbee combo as the hand units but will also have dual pressure sensors, one for playing, one for functions (oh yes…stay tuned). it will form an adjustable 3 way harness between the ears, the back of the head and the chin, which places the mouth interface optimally in the space just above the lip. since there is no need to use the mouth to “hold” the mouthpiece in place, it can be much small which will allow for singing and talking, mostly unobstructed as well as an form of acrobatic movement that doesnt involve landing on your face. we’ll deal with that possibility in a Gen III revision;-) the jawbone will be fully adjustable to most teenage and aadult size heads.
Each of the transciever “nodes” (hand units and oral interface) will communicate with its own base-station node connected to the computer by a 3port usb hub so you’ll only have to plug in 1 usb cable and each is already configured for its own port in Pure data, the environment that the system in based in. this is on purpose as i believe that this will allow for extreme configuration down the road. (and remember that there are a few fully configured systems on offer that come with their own computer, ready to play) the first generation software is already available as an open source project in MAKE Magazine this month so you can check out those patches now. the 2nd Gen software will do all that the 1st gen did, but with the addition of a visual interface for you and or your audience to be able to see all of the interelated parameters that are churning away to make the music that you/they hear. It will also come with the Beatjazz suite. this is a full beatjazz environment for live performance sound design, music creation and system control. with it, there is not need to touch the computer at all as all functions will be editable from the controller interface. it will come on a bootable USB flash drive running puredyne Linux and will boot straight into the controller system, but if you like, you can simply run the patches in your own OS.
Glad i could show you this now, as I have some doozies coming up in the next 2 weeks! the hard work of this system is already done, namely, the hardware configuration is basically set in stone for this version and i know it works because i’ve used it for my own gigs for months.
The next stages for the contributor beatjazz controller are;
- to create proper reusable carbon fiber molds
- order the components once i know how many to order
- assemble the hardware internals
- print the non-carbon fiber parts once i acquire the 3d printer
- order the cloth parts for the straps and the linings where the hand contacts the instrument.
- create a user manual
- Assemble the controllers
- Ship the controllers >(non-controller perks will be created and shipped on a different schedule)
I hope to be able to ship 1 or 2 of the units before Christmas but i can not guarantee this because it is dependent on when i receive the parts (components, carbon fiber, resin, etc) and when i can get into the workshop to make the carbon fiber parts. it takes time to create and assemble these devices but there is a chance i can get a few out the door before that time.
I have a very special controller configuration to debut in the next day or so so i have to get back to work. i just wanted you to have a better idea of what you’re getting when you go for the beatjazz controller perk. live long and prosper.