The New Year

Hola, amigos. I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but many things have happened and kept me away from updating my site. All good things, lots to discuss.

My last post mentioned my being at the San Diego Mini Maker Faire, and it went wonderfully. I set up most of the equipment from the MIDI concert, including O.M.G.D.A.W.G., the Crush and Bang, the cusPi, and a bunch of other toys. It went wonderfully, and kids and adults alike seemed to have had a lot of fun seeing and playing my stuff. The event as a whole was a wonderful success, and I was lucky enough to spend time with a wonderful group of fellow builders/inventors/hardware hackers. Always a good time.

I also wrapped up my class at La Jolla Country Day in Industrial Design/do-it-yourself inventions with the middle school. I’ve added it to my teaching page, you can see some photos and what the class was all about over there. It was an absolute joy.

Speaking of hardware hacking, I’ve got a number of new projects on the bench right now. The big one is what will be my thesis project interface. It’s an embedded linux computer hooked up to a number of environmental sensors (temperature, humidity, GPS, camera) that will remap the interface to the synthesis algorithm. The goal of this interface is to set up a platform to work with reconfigurable mapping layers and a single synthesis and control paradigm.

I’ve been working with a variety of different single board computers on this project. I started with a raspberry pi, and was able to quickly get it up and running with Pure Data and a nice tft touchscreen from adafruit. This platform, shown in the video below, turns out to be quite easy in execution, however quite limited in processor power.

Raspberry Pi + Touchscreen + Pure Data from Burnheart Synthesizers on Vimeo.

Next, I’ve been working with both the IFC6410, an Android-based single board computer using the SnapDragon chip from Inforce Computing, and the Udoo, a Linux-based single board computer with integrated Arduino. Both have singnificantly more horsepower than the Raspberry Pi, and may well be its replacement.

The SnapDragon board is promising in power, but my relative inexperience with Android, versus Linux, is making it a bit harder to quickly use it with this project. The Udoo is a bit more suited to the project, and in fact, fellow UCSD Computer Music Grad David Medine has a wonderful tutorial on using the Udoo with Pure Data and the integrated Arduino. More on this as it develops, but this is turning into a wonderful project.

Aside from these projects, I have a number of new potential project due to the Unimat 3 combination lathe/mill/drill press I’ve just gotten myself. Future project with this guy will include new microphones, a mechanical XY controller, and more. Most recently, as a I get to learn this new tool, I made a nice acoustic bird call, out of ebony and brass. See the pictures and video below, I’m quite happy with how it turned out!

Bird Call from Burnheart Synthesizers on Vimeo.

That’s about all for now. I have so much more to write, and will begin attempting my more frequent and in depth updates as things happen. Stay tuned!