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Showing posts from 2010

Free open source multitrack recording on an android phone

I've been recording rehearsals for a while using my android phone. This gives quite acceptable sound quality and some of it is even on soundcloud . It naturally led to me wondering if more than one track was somehow possible, and I've tried a few combinations of apps to see if they could work together, before getting to this method: This process has only been tested on a G1 so far so I can't say for sure if this can be done on other phones.  It's a bit tiresome but it proves that 2 track recording can be done. With a few changes to the apps that allow it, it could get a lot easier too. 1) Start by downloading Rehearsal Assistant and Ringdroid . Both these applications are open source, and both are listed on the android market. 2) Make a recording using rehearsal assistant first - it's easy - just push the big red button, but you may want to go into it's settings and set it to record directly as .wav files by selecting "Record Uncompressed Audio"

Bristol's Budget Conversation and Town Hall BEPs

In case you are from Bristol and haven't noticed, there's currently a "big debate" being held over at in the comments area . Basically, the city council are asking the public how to cut the huge sums of money that they will have to do without anyway from very soon. There are lots of reasons why this is flawed. As one commenter posted, "This “consultation” is a pointless exercise without access to a clear summary of what is for the chop and doing it on the internet just encourages the lunatics. Are there any plans for proper town hall style meetings? Or is this just a sham?"  But still, I thought I'd publicise it, even if it's a sham, in case somehow it can get a bit closer to becoming an actual debate and taking of responsibility by all parties. So how do you sift through all these comments and start to extract something resembling usefulness from it all? And how can the public actually get the

Ecologising Open Hardware

I've come to realise, through my experiments and readings, and through spending months in the world of instrument design, that I had until now marvelled in the idealistic beauty of Open Hardware without considering it's limitations in much depth. I thought it might be time to start to see where this fantastic creative world still might fall short from the point of view of the various " green " threats around us. This shiny new thing is the possibility of: Having a brain wave. ordering some cheap parts online , Going through a creative process to produce a circuit diagram, a materials list and parts list, a printed circuit board before finally assembling an item Whilst designing what turned out to be my Bird Symbiot, a prototype of a system for outdoor sound generation, I visited and contacted lots of people in different occupations. It's not the most essential of applications but I do know a bit more about what happens between me recording some music, and

Maker Faire Exhibit - Weeks 3 and 4

Last week I made the raku clay bird ornament in which the device will be kept, unless I can make a better one before the faire . It was a really interesting process to follow, and Hilda, the potter who showed me it, said things sometimes randomly emerge with clay, not always what you expect. I like that idea, as opposed to 3d design where you try and go for an exact shape. Also it shrinks 10% when it's fired, and so any calculations as to size or tuning would have to be done through lots of different models and trial and error, which I don't have time for as she is now going away for a bit, and I won't have access to her kiln again until after the maker faire. I'm not completely happy with the results of my first big process of making: it's a bit small and the "bird" only happened randomly during the slab rolling process. But still, it's functional and I put a lot of stuff in it, that I know will need to go in any subsequent thing I make as an enclosur

Maker Faire Exhibit - Weeks 1 and 2

It's not very often you get a chance to work on such a varied project. The brief for the project in the previous post on this blog, but I thought it useful to put down some thoughts at this stage in it's preparation. Especially in case I get lost later on. Last week I did the first parts: I wired together light sensor, piezo buzzer and an electromagnetic field detector and they are sending data back to an arduino that is now capable of "sleeping" - i.e. switching to a lower power mode. There are lots of ways of getting it to fall asleep though, and I prefer no power to lo-power as Newcastle is not known for it's warm bright weather (for example - this week, according to the newspaper, sunset came to Newcastle at 4.40pm, and the average temperature is of about 4-5 degrees with showers half the time, leading me to think rain power may have been a better choice than solar). To amplify all the recorded and generated sounds this device is beginning to produce, I got a


An outdoors low consumption, self powering musical installation. This blog post is about the design and creative process around the concept of an art object I'm making, to be displayed at the UK Maker Faire in Newcastle in March. The intent is to install in an outdoors area, various sensors and various sound sources - mostly amplified piezos as well as a wave shield. These will be guided by an arduino which is powered in turn by various solar panels. The device will capture sunlight during the day (I'm also considering windmill or crank power ), and gathers readings through the day and night to play a short "concert" at dawn and dusk. The readings are light, temperature, sounds, humidity and, I hope, some simple electrode type readings, for which I'm currently experimenting with EMF, which I hope to couple with a second one, so as to have a sort of electrode. When light reaches a threshold, the device plays a melody based on readings gathered, fires off a recorded

Stokes Croft 2017

Most people symbolically see birth of the robotic race as 2015, when those famous wikicars escaped from the race course, rode into their trainers, and escaped into the desert. They do not realise that the first large scale battles to use robotic killers was not just the well known oil wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, but this had begun far far before, in these few streets of Bristol UK known as Stokes Croft, where all the new electronics factories had come to converge. In Bristol, in the valley of dilapidated houses swathed in graffiti between Montpelier and Kingsdown there was once an insurrection, and a great battle, with augmented free running kids fighting police, then the army, each other, and finally fire juggling armies of anarchist clowns as well as the more familiar modified urban fauna we know today (at first with abortive attempts to domesticate wild Foxes, followed by the now familiar Slug, Seagull and Crow, with effects we all remember with such apprehension and shock today).

Plant Electrodes

I've been doing more late night research on electrodes . This is a good way to create an interface between machine and plant, or machine and animal, and it's basically a wire on a living surface, like a plant or your skin somewhere, and another one close by going out to complete a circuit. It passes current through this non metallic surface, between anode and cathode, and then you measure the resistance you detect. Then the medical ones get much more complicated, and easy to apply or stick to someone. I started thinking about electrodes when planning a slug detector project, which would use the electrode in order to detect (or cast and then measure discrepancies in) an electrical field. Casting and detecting changes in, or just detecting electrical fields is a form of animal communication used in very primitive underwater animals, mostly to hunt prey or detect possible predators. Because slugs tend to go out on rainy nights, this would work mostly when there was water around th

Second Life / Open Simulator Arduino Project Plan

Here is my thinking on this: Devobot is an IronPython framework that allows you to trigger animations, movement and chatting to a Second Life or OpenSimulator based avatar using the open source libopenmetaverse library. I used this software in my bot work in a recent archive / 3d model of the Pompeii Court of the Sydenham Crystal Palace . PySerial on the other hand, allows IronPython based serial comms. Serial comms can also be done via .net frameworks - example is in C#, but it should be a good reference for an ironpython version. An arduino microprocessor can be hooked up using an adapted version of the light sensor tutorial on - but for example, triggering animations or chat responses according to the light level or to other sensors I might be able to think of. Maybe eventually growing in complexity until, naturally, a wiimote is added for IR tracking. So the question is - will it work?

3 possibilities: Hackspace Bristol, DMT and the Aquatrick

Today I had some important realisations and considerations about various projects I'm working on - Hackspace Bristol, the Green Noise Open Hardware Project, and the invention of the Aquatrick, a water based, sensor controlled, light projecting device. I don't know how related they are except for this snowy day in Bristol, but that's life, and here they are: 1. Hackspace Bristol Here is a project plan/wish list of sorts for Bristol Hackspace , which is currently based at Coexist/Hamilton House in Bristol: Bristol Hackspace will be a feature of Stokes Croft and active contributor to it's attractions as a local and international centre of alternative arts and culture, adding a technological aspect to the existing local autonomous spaces, and hopefully working with these and with the wider world-wide hackerspace or makerspace (and dorkbot?) movements as well as many others. To this I hope to be able to assist by curating events, co-ordinating workshop series' as well