Noise Boundary Demo at UNT

Ed and I did a demo of our Noise Boundary music ensemble at UNT Thursday morning for a kinetic arts class taught by David Van Ness and David Hanson. For those who aren’t familiar with the project, we’re developing a collection of autonomous robot instruments that collaborate among themselves to improvise music. At the current stage, the instruments are being controlled via MIDI from a single laptop running GNU/Linux and autonomous music generation algorithms we’ve written in the ChucK programming language.

The two instruments used in Thursday’s demo include our autonomous 2.5 octave Glockenspiel and the sound generation chamber of a circa 1890 manual pump reed organ that has been converted to operate from an industrial vacuum motor. Both instruments are controlled by onboard Arduino boards (the Glockenspiel uses an ArduinoMega). Development of this project has slowed down the last couple of months since the DPRG lost it’s space and the weather has made working in my garage difficult. Once we get the new hackerspace online, this is one of the projects we’ll be working on regularly there. We have a China cymbal and Snare drum that will become part of a soon to be built percussion pod. And crazier stuff like a pentatonic Rijke resonator organ has been discussed.

For more, see my Noise Boundary photo galleryThe video above is the equipment test I did in my garage the night before the demo. David Hanson captured a few seconds of the event on iphone video.

Robot Builders Forming Hackerspace in Dallas

Posting this to robots dot net but adding here to just to get a few more eyes on it…

DPRG meeting at Garland Warehouse

The Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG), one of the oldest robot hobbyist groups in the world, is forming a hackerspace in Dallas, Texas. For the last seven years, the DPRG was based in the Garland, Texas warehouse pictured above but, in 2009, the building changed hands and the DPRG found itself out of a home. Based on the success of hackerspaces in other parts of the world, we’ve decided the time is right to start one Dallas.

For those not familiar with the idea, a hackerspace is a shared community workshop supported by a membership fee that helps cover rent, tools, and other expenses. The DPRG is a 501(c)(3) as well and will be soliciting grants and donations to help cover startup costs. Membership is open to all types of makers, hackers, and creators in the community and there is already a wide range of interests that include robots (of course!), CNC, welding, photography, hydroponics, vacuforming, and ham radio, to name just a few. The DPRG hopes to find someone willing to donate land and a suitable building but may lease temporary space if needed to have things up and running sometime in March. So, if you’re in Dallas, join up and help out. Even if you’re not local, they’re accepting donations from like-minded folks, so throw a few dollars their way if you can.