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2008-04-13 09:48:54 electronics

Trying to finish this custom controller before leaving for Japan. Almost ready now - just the casing left to do. It has 5 rotary encoders (endless) with as many push buttons, 2 soft-potentiometers and 3 touch sensors (capacitive). It is built using the brilliant V-USB from Obdev and shows up as a standard HID devices. Small, lightweight and just one cable (USB). Plus it is very cheap to build - see parts list. The biggest cost is the encoders.

I took some inspiration for the design from Kenton's nice but expensive Killamix Mini, but wanted a few different types of controllers and also have them arranged asymmetrically. This so I don't have to look at the device while playing. When I've tried other controllers with evenly spaced knobs, I've often lost track and have had to look down and even start counting knobs to figure out which one I was using. With this layout, I won't have this problem. Also, the layout resembles the shape of my upcoming performance costume redUniform.

Schematics, parts list and firmware are available on the page /hardware/#redkontrollers.

redKontroll photo 1 redKontroll photo 2

redKontroll photo 4

redKontroll schematics


2008-04-06 19:32:18 electronics

This is my hacked front light for my bike. It's an ATtiny45 AVT microcontroller that I programmed to play the complete 14min drum part in Ravel's Bolero. The reason I picked Bolero was that it's a fairly well-known rhythm and that it's very repetitive (= don't require much memory).

Firmware attached below.

bikelightBolero photo1bikelightBolero photo2

bikelightBolero schematics



2008-02-28 16:08:37 electronics

This is version 2 of a minimal and cheap one-bit synthesizer I developed for the CTM xxxxx-workshops series: one-bit music workshop. Basically, I just changed the hardware and took out one of the potentiometers and lowered the oscillator to 1MHz. Now it sounds a lot different and more chaotic.

monijonsyn2 photo1monijonsyn2 photo2monijonsyn2 photo3monijonsyn2 photo4

monijonsyn2 schematics

Simple one-bit synthesizer based on the ATmega8 chip.


  • 200313: moved the video from Vimeo to here


2008-02-17 18:27:20 electronics

Finally found some time to build a tiny synth based on a design by SGMK (mechatronicart.ch). So simple and it sounds so good! Evil little thing. I did some modifications: basically one more audio channel with different pots and caps and 2 switches for the LDR.

micro_noise photo1micro_noise photo2micro_noise photo3micro_noise photo4

micro_noise schematics

Based on micro_noise by SGMK - www.mechatronicart.ch modified by /f0 080216


  • 200313: moved the video from Vimeo to here

One-bit Music Workshop

2008-02-06 18:01:10 electronics

As part of the xxxxx-workshops series at this year's Club Transmediale, I was asked to do a day on one-bit music. This is a very silly way to produce music - basically flipping pins on/off with no amplitude control! But I liked the challenge and for me, limitations like these are needed to get anything done at all. Thanks to Anke, Martin and Derek for organising.

Attached are the slides, Arduino code and schematics we used that day.

The workshop (6-hours short) was divided into 3 parts: first some theory about microcontrollers, AVR programmers and coding in C. Then we used Arduino to prototype some simple synths (bit-bang and PWM techniques). And last we took the Arduino code and burned it onto a standalone ATmega8L chip and built minimal circuits (some buttons, battery, chip, speaker).

If you want to try to do sound synthesis with the Arduino, you might want to check out the files in 1bitmusic_arduino.zip below. This file also includes code for my little synth called monijonsyn.

monijonsyn photo 1 monijonsyn photo 2 monijonsyn photo 3

monijonsyn schematics


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