ryan smith : "project title"

week 1

This week, I spent my time exploring potential project ideas. Inspired by pieces discussed in my sound installation class, I am thinking of doing a spatialized-interactive piece, but the details are to be determined.

week 2

A spatialized-interactive piece it is. I have spent a lot of time this week thinking about the narrative being told by piece: You are surrounded by people claiming to know what is best for you, and you follow them because you are unsure of what else to do. But, in doing so you become confused by their contradicting directions/instructions/advice, growing more wary and distrusting of their words. You begin to challenge them.

I imagine a voice in the space asking is the participant to come towards them. When the participant gets close enough to the source, the voice will move to another point in the space. So that the participant feels unable to fulfill the voices desires by “coming to it” in the space. Now, I will need to figure out what technologies will be needed to realize this idea.

week 3

Having decided to use the Listening Room, I met up with Barbara to get the lowdown on using the space. She gave me a general overview of ambisonics and introduced me to a particular ambisonics Max package that I can use to spatialize sound in the Listening Room. Playing around with this package’s objects in Max, I am starting to get a better sense of how I will be able to move the voice around the room.

week 4

I finally got my Arduino up and running. I spent a lot of time this week watching tutorial videos for the electronics and Arduino beginner. I think now I finally understand what voltage is… or at least more than I did to start.

I got some basic circuits operating on my breadboard, with my Arduino running code uploaded from the IDE, but nothing specific to this project yet. Although, I did mess around with quite a few sensors just to get a feel for what is possible.

week 5

Using ultrasonic sensors, I have been able to sense movement. Having the sensor directed towards a particular point, if an object obstructs the path between the sensor and the particular point, the “distance” picked up by the sensor decreases. So, “motion detection.”

I have been thinking more about how I want the listener to feel. I have recorded some preliminary sounds with my ZOOM, and just having these sounds has given me a better sense of where I am moving.

week 6

Having sensor data being sent into Arduino, and spatialization capacity in Max, I have been working on communicating between the two. Using Serial to send data from Arduino to Max, I am now able to change the sound spatialization based on sensor activity.

With this new Arduino-Max system, I went to the Listening room to test things and.. it worked! Now I need to work on the actual sensing side of the system.

week 7

The ultrasonic sensor has proven unreliable. It does not provide the desired response in the listening room; it just too janky. For this reason, I am searching for an alternative way for detecting motion.

First, I tried using PRI sensors. These are great for detecting motion, but the inability to limit the pickup range and the 4s delay time are not ideal for a small space and potential need for quick retriggering.

Second, I tried using laser diodes/photoresistors. These are great. This setup is reliable, the sensors can be retriggered with no delay time, and the pickup range, just being the beam of the laser, allows for precision. I have ordered many lasers and hope to have the system set up next week. Then I will focus my work on the composition itself.

week 8

The lasers have arrived. I have been working on creating holders for the lasers and also photoresistors so they will not get knocked around; they need to be securely positioned.

The Teensy has arrived. Everything is running as expected within the Arduino IDE, but something weird is happening with sending serial messages to Max. There seems to be a delay in receive time, and sometimes Max does not receive any messages at all. This is particularly strange considering there is no lag on Arduino’s serial monitor. Still looking into what is going on here.

week 9

Having made holders for the lasers and photoresistors, I needed to find a means for having them spaced out around the in listening room while still having them connected to a central Arduino board. I found some old networking cables that, with a little bit of cutting, stripping, and soldering, did just the trick, with no noticeable noise (Reduce. Refuse. Recycle.).

Not totally unexpected, it is quite difficult to align the lasers and photoresistors. I used to tape for testing purposes, but the tape is not secure and so the laser wanders away from the photoresistor after just a few minutes. After looking through the Max Lab for a solution, I came across some clamps that I’m thinking will allow me to securely orient the lasers.

week 10

The laser point continues to stray from the photoresistor, despite using the clamps for, what was thought to be, added stabilization. The lasers being a crucial component of my piece, it is critical that I get this working. This means even less composition time than anticipated.