PhysComp midterm project, week 2: Rough prototype

A semi-working prototype!

Part 2 in the saga that began last week.

After spending about an hour playing with the Minim library in Processing, I went into the lab to see if I could get it to work with actual input from our IR sensors. This was basically a repeat of this week’s homework, which I’d done, for once, before the morning it was due, so the wiring part was uncharacteristically easy. I need to get some header pins, though; the stranded wire on the IR sensors is a pain to plug into a breadboard.

So our project—which I realize I didn’t explain last week—is going to be a cubeoid musical (or, at least, noisy) instrument with an infrared sensor set into each side, mounted corner-up (as demonstrated by Diego) on a camera tripod. One or more players can then use their hands or other body parts or utensils or pets to trigger different sounds from each side. We were thinking that for Phase One, i.e., this week, we’d have the sounds be synthesized tones, and that for Phase Two, the final version, we’d make it play various different loops.

It turned out, however, that it’s far easier—for me, at least—to get Minim to play loops than to synthesize sounds. And there are a lot of free sound clips out there in the world. I got mine from CanadianMusicArtists.com. This pre-prototype, therefore, has only two sensors, both of which trigger audio loops. It also has the beginnings of a lame-ass bouncing ball animation, but it doesn’t do what I want it to do, mostly because the signal’s changing too rapidly. Graphics were a tentative feature for Phase Two, so I’m not going to fuss with that part any more this week.

Here’s some crappy video of Filippo (left) and Diego (right) making the sensors generate noise. You can barely hear it, unfortunately—listen for the annoying rapid clicking sound, which I think is the hi-hat sound.

The beauty part? This doubles as my ICM homework.

Here’s the Arduino code:

/* Reads data from two analog sensors (IR sensors, in this specific example)
and outputs the values in a format that can be easily parsed in Processing.
*/

int ledPin = 7;
int irSensor0 = 0;
int irSensor1 = 1;
int sensorValue = 0;

void setup()
{
// Flash the LED three times to announce the start of program.
pinMode( 7, OUTPUT );
digitalWrite( 7, LOW );
delay( 300 );
digitalWrite( 7, HIGH );
delay( 300 );
digitalWrite( 7, LOW );
delay( 300 );
digitalWrite( 7, HIGH );
delay( 300 );
digitalWrite( 7, LOW );
delay( 300 );
digitalWrite( 7, HIGH );
delay( 300 );
digitalWrite( 7, LOW );

// Start serial port at 9600 bps:
Serial.begin( 9600 );
}

void loop()
{
if (Serial.available() > 0)
{
// Read the first (0) sensor:
sensorValue = analogRead( irSensor1 );

// print the results:
Serial.print( sensorValue, DEC );
Serial.print( "\t" );

// read the second (1) sensor:
sensorValue = analogRead( irSensor0 );
// print the results:
Serial.println( sensorValue, DEC );

// Follow the last sensor value with a println() so that
// each set of four readings prints on a line by itself:
Serial.println( sensorValue, DEC );
// delay ( 100 );
}
}

And here’s the Processing code, where most of the excitement takes place.

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