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Archive for December 2011

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Happy Holidays Beatjazz Update!!

Merry/Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Festivus/Holidays!!  I hope you are all safe and happy with loved ones.  please be careful during these times.


I decided that now would be a good time to share some of the work that has been done over the last few weeks.  There was much minutia to attend to and i didnt want to do a blog post for each little thing at this point.  there will be plenty of time for those posts.  much of what i was working on was things that i had already blogged about so i wanted to wait til i had an implementation sorted.


IMG_0490This is the prototype for the new headset.  currently, it is aluminum and, not surprisingly, hot glue.  the difference is that rather than place the electronics on my back or around my neck as in the past, they are now in the currently rather large protrusion behind my head, which, also unsurprisingly, is made of paper mache.  (interesting trivia; i slashed a 1" gash deep into my leg with a scalpel during the building of this.  its all healed now though) 

 

IMG_0503The mouthpiece is currently made of a hand moldable silicone polymer called Sugru.  amazing stuff and it sticks to anything.  there is a clasp of sorts, on the left side.  this allows it to be taken off easily. 
although not terribly attractive in its current incarnation, it served its purpose during a recent gig, to test the viability of mounting all of the mouth electronics, on the head, rather than belt or back packs, which  i detest.

 

 

IMG_0502the new pressure sensors were beautifully dynamic and smoooth throughout the range of pressure and worked very well with soundset that is now running on a decent computer (more on that in a moment) the frame is constructed in such a way as to use the ears to cantilever the front and back into proper position, without putting too much weight on them.  I am still refining this aspect of the design.


The gig last thursday night was also notable because it was the first public showing of the visualization projection (video soon.  apparently not everyone works through the holiday season).  It was the simplistic version from october, but it did a good job of conveying not just what i was doing but that i was actually doing SOMETHING.  I have heard from many people that they dont even know that i am playing everything live.  well, they know now.  the visualizations did their job very.  the next showing of the system in switzerland at the TapTab club will refine them even more.


I was finally able to return the loaner laptop to the Loanee (thank you so much!) and have now acquired a machine that can deal with with the wide range of functions required of it in the coming years.  A nice Acer Laptop with an i7 (quadcore) cpu, 8gb ram and 1gb video memory.  as a comparison, my last machine (core duo, 2 gb ram, integrated video) running NI Kore2 with my array of synths and fx would run steadily at 70-95% cpu usage at 5-7ms latency (the amount of time it takes for the computer to prcess everything between the time i play a note and that note makes a sound.). this machine? same software, runs at...wait for it...6% cpu usage!...wait...at 1ms latency.  oh yes...it is ON!!  this bodes well for the dynamism of the system over time although i will be doing parallel developement on my netbook, to keep things honest when I ship the controllers for the contributors to my last crowdfunding campaign.


Between these two major developments, there is much room to maneuver in terms of sonic and visual possibility.  more than i can even imagine at this point, but they converge with a third development that also benefits from the increase in processing power.    IMG_0492 the visualizations will, over time, become increasingly 3 dimensional.  but delving into 3d will be important in another way as well.  I just acquired a 3d printer called a reprap.  it arrived on the 23rd of dec and I have almost finished assmbling it as it came in kit form.


 IMG_0499this printer is special in a number of ways.  first, it is "self replicating" which means that it is relatively easy to use one to build most of the parts for another one.  also it is small enough that it can be partially disassembled and taken with me.  but mostly, it is special because it is one step closer to completing the ability to conceptualize, and materialize ideas, at home.  the reason that the headset above looks the way that it does, is because i did not have access to the precise tools to create a framework that was exact AND durable (it uses either PLA or ABS plastic, which it melts and extrudes while zipping around the print surface in a satisfyingly robotic manner).


Once this printer is properly callibrated, it probably spells the end for paper mache and hot glue in my creative processes.  I will report more after i have printed something.
Be careful this week.  have fun.  til next. l8r.

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Sorry for the dearth of blog posts

For future reference, whenever large spans of time go by that I do not post, it usually means that I am working on something pretty heavily.  I decided to wait until I have something cool to share and it is almost at that point.  sometime in the next 2-3 days.  I don’t want to go into much detail yet.  I’d rather just post photos.  with that, I will see you in a couple of days.

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Finally sorting that pesky pressure sensor issue

The pressure sensor saga will soon be remedied! Yaaaay!! 

When i did the first controller build, i needed a pressure sensor to register breath pressure and i didn't want to wait to have the proper one that i wanted at the time, the freescale mpx5010, to be shipped, so I went to the local electronics superstore here in Berlin, and purchased one that was close enough. the mpx5100DP.  this was the wrong sensor in many ways. first, it was 5v instead of the 3.3v that the arduino fio uses.  It had dual ports that i believed at the time were seperately addressable but came to discover that they worked together to provide a differential signal(pressure/vacuum balanced output) which was useless to me so i just used the pressure side. and, most significantly, to get the full data range from it required 14.5psi of pressure, which i discovered is about 10x more that most humans are capable of blowing.  so the signal was very weak.  because of this, i multiplied the signal A LOT so that i had a useable data range, but this made the data stream very "steppy" and very noisy, representing itself in my sounds as a glitchy/static-y-ness.


  I didn't care for most of the year because it worked, but, i decided that it was time to do it right, now, so i went to Mouser.com and ordered 8 of these babies.  the freescale MP3V5010GP.  the "3v" stands for 3 volts, which puts it in the arduino fios goldilock-zone and the "GP" is for gauge port, which means it only has the single port and is much much smaller.  as well, this baby has a 1.45psi pressure range which is SO exciting because now, rather than multiply the signal, I can divide it, which will mean a smooth as silk dynamic range of values.  I just ordered them a little while ago and they should arrive in a few days. yaaaay!!


there are loads of parts to order and wait for, I will dedicate this week to making the software suite "playable", i.e., able to to take it over to Tacheles (my favorite busking spot) and perform with it with reasonable competency.  the gap from not playable to playable is smaller than it was and i expect to be able to do a busking session by Saturday or Sunday of this week.  if all goes well, the gap from playable to "giggable", i.e., the ability to rock out at a gig that i get paid for, hence, the need for "pro" sound is important.  I have a show at Rote Salon on Dec 22nd and i plan to use the full software suite I’ve been working on for 3 months.  if all goes well, the software will be within the 70-80% ready range at that point.

 

beatjazz008 I will be using a prototype "Jawbone" headset for the show.  Primarily to test component placement and where the tension points will be within the triangle of chin-back of head-ears.  this will be done mostly with a polymer protoyping clay called Sugru.  once refined, it will be laser scanned with a DIY laser scanning system i discovered online, then printed in pieces in the 3d printer.

Ok, back to work. maybe I will get to go out and busk for the first time in about 4 months, on saturday, if all goes well.  l8r.


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