The Bounce Announce Automated Musical Instrument

This project completed as my final project for both Physical Computing and Introduction to Computational Media at ITP.

Briefly, ping pong balls roll down 4 individual tracks, and are launched at the bottom by solenoids. The solenoids are triggered rhythmically by an Arduino.

The ping pong balls bounce sequentially onto carefully placed musical instruments. On the instruments are several piezo-electric transducers that send serial data to Processing, which responds with a visualization scheme projected from above.

Here's a video documentation of the project. Enjoy!

Organizing Resistors

If you ever want to test your brain's limits on color discrimination, try sorting a few hundred resistors. Was that a blue stripe or a black stripe? Was that a brown stripe or an orange stripe?

While this process was completely maddening at times, it's great to have all my resistors organized. I separated them into these cups, and then put them into tiny baggies, labelled with Sharpies.

Now my components cabinet has two resistor drawers: 1 Ohm through 1k Ohm, and 1.1k Ohm through 1 Mega Ohm.


Organizing My Resistors
Organizing My Resistors

Hacking Together a Scrapwood Box

I just can't stand to throw my scrapwood in the trash. Unfortunately, it tends to pile up after a while, and I'm forced to think of new ways to use it. As you may know, in the past I made scrapwood shelves that seemed to be a success, so this time I tried my hand at making a scrapwood box for holding some of my materials.

I had been using a cardboard box that was slowly disintegrating, so this was definitely a step up. Like scrapwood projects I've done before, I set myself some ground rules. I used all pieces of wood as I found them in my scrap bucket, no additional cuts were allowed, and the only fasteners I used were screws and nails.

It's great to not only have created something new, sturdy, and unique, but due to the scrapwood's involvement in prior projects, the box itself becomes a chronology of my own work. I can point to the black bottom and remember that it used to be part of my workbench, then became a TV stand, and finally was dismantled, with the tabletop becoming my drafting board.

Other pieces have stories too, and I'm reminded of them whenever I dig around in this box now.

Enjoy this time-lapse video of the build. The backing track is "A Scene Unseen" by Kinetic.

Apparatus As Art

While at NYU's ITP program, I'm given the opportunity to take classes outside my own program.

Given my recent penchant for construction and assemblage, I decided to enroll in a sculpture studio course at NYU's Steinhardt School.

Being in the mix with fine arts students has resulted in some interesting results and revelations.

For a recent assignment, I made a sculpture with a kinetic element, and asked the class to ignore the apparatus controlling the "artwork", as this was intended to be concealed in a final iteration.

During the crit the apparatus was all they could think about.

I'll reserve that day's piece for another blog post, but will show you the apparatus from it alongside two similar constructions from other projects. These were never intended to be artworks, but it seems that my most successful "art" comes when it is unintended as such.
Apparatus as Art