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  • scottpeterman 2:17 am on May 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    The Imaginary Marching Band 

    The Imaginary Marching Band is a series of open-source wearable instruments that allow the wearer to create real music simply by pantomiming playing an instrument.
    It is also a performance piece, an actual Band who will be performing using the gloves at a variety of festivals and institutions around the world this summer and fall.

    This project is open-source, both as software and as hardware. The hope is to encourage others to experiment within this area of design: the creation of invisible interfaces that perfectly mimic their real world counterparts, and in so doing inspire a sense of play and enhance – rather than diminish – the creative experience.

    You can view all videos associated with this project, with new updates coming twice a week for the next month due to our Kickstarter Campaign, by subscribing to my YouTube channel.

    Download my final paperhere.

    Finally, view past posts on this project on our class blog or on the Imaginary Marching Band site.

  • scottpeterman 10:37 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Imaginary Marching Band 

    The Imaginary Marching Band is a series of open-source wearable instruments that allow the wearer to create real music simply by pantomiming playing an instrument.


  • scottpeterman 10:00 pm on April 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply  



  • scottpeterman 9:04 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Marching Band Schedule 

    Thankfully the parts are trickling in! Here’s my schedule for getting the six selected instruments – Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Cymbal, Bass Drum, Snare Drum – completed and ready to perform on Monday the 9th.

    Monday 4/18
    Trumpet prototype 2 with tilt sensor ready for user testing
    Ping trombone ready for user testing
    Website up and running

    Thursday 4/21
    Met with musician group – Ed, Dan, Rob, Leo, Brett
    Final glove production signed off with Lauren
    Proximity Bass drum for user testing
    Finished Percussion Prior Art/Patent Research

    Monday 4/25
    Kickstarter up
    Cymbals soft sensor prototype user testing
    Gyro snare prototype for user testing

    Thursday 4/28
    All instruments playable in prototype form
    Expanded version of white paper, all research complete

    Monday 5/2
    Met with Parsons Music Profs
    Rhizome application completed
    All MIDI samples locked in

    Thursday 5/5
    Full band practice
    Refining/tweaking the final gloves for comfort
    Art in Odd Places app due

    Monday 5/9
    GO TIME!

    • Thom Hines 10:14 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Looks like you’ve got a lot of progress made already, and a good plan to get to the end, especially considering how ambitious it will be do do the whole band. I also like that you are including non-Computation deadlines in there; smart to keep your eye on the bigger picture.

    • Lee 10:15 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      word do it and I want one

  • scottpeterman 10:00 pm on April 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Four different attempts at the cymbal (and by extension bass drum and trombone) 

    So while I’m in waiting mode on the tilt sensors, new pressure sensors, and glove fabrication, I made a decision: I want to do a marching band. Just brass, bass drum, snare drum and cymbal. Funny, effective, and I have the base tech for all of them.

    Towards that end, I began to experiment with some things I had in my toolkit with the intent of working out a good proximity systems.

    Last week in class I began to play with the gyroscope towards the end of making a bass drum. I got it working but the feedback from Thom and my musician friend Ed was that it really should be based on proximity of the two hands, not just the speed of the hand. To top it off, my gyroscope now seems to be broken.

    I also had the Sharp short range proximity sensor and the MaxSonics LV-EZ ultrasonic range finder. GREAT tutorial on both here:
    Bildr proximity tutorial

    Unfortunately these both had a problem – they are useless at short range! The LV-EZ just holds at a value of 11 within two centimeters, and the Sharp switches at the value of 500 and counts down again to hold at a value ranging from 0-150 based on the reflectivity of the surface that is held against it.

    For a moment tried to do it with just a photoresistor, but it is just not accurate enough. Below is some example code I was using with Sharp sensor to do a cymbal with velocity varying on length of hit that doesn’t work due to the short range issue…

    int sensor1;
    int sensor2;
    void setup(){  
    void loop(){
      int sensor=analogRead(A0);
      int velocity=map(sensor2,400,200,60,127);
    void MIDI_TX(unsigned char MESSAGE, unsigned char PITCH, unsigned char VELOCITY) 
  • scottpeterman 8:38 pm on April 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Prior Art and a new name??? 

    Kraakdoos – Michel Waisvisz and Geert Hamelberg – 1960s
    Folgerphone – Nolan Hatcher and Craig Nutt – 1979
    Gittler Guitar
    Gittler Guitar – Allane Gittler – 1970s and 80s
    played by Andy Summers of the Police on “Syncronicity II”
    Gravikord – Robert Grawl – 1986
    SynthAxe – Bill Aiken – 1986
    Ztar – Starr Labs – 1980s-Present
    Kaisatsuko – Yuichi Onoue – 2003
    Moodswinger – Yuri Landman – 2006
    played by Alex Hemphill of the Liars on “Leather Prowler”
    Yamaha Trumpet Yamaha EZ-TP MIDI Trumpet – Currently available ($350)
    Yamaha WX-5 woodwind Yamaha WX-5 MIDI Woodwind – Currently available ($350)

    1942Electrical Clarinet
    1959 Device for measuring speech

    1966 Fluid Pressure Actuated Sensor controlled instrument
    1969 Electrical Woodwind Synthesizer
    1969 Breath Control sensor for single-tone musical instrument

    1971 Electric Reed Mouthpiece
    1973 Electronic wind instrument
    1975 Electrically Operated Music
    1976 Trumpet using variable wind pressure post valves then feeding into synthesizer
    1976 A method for capturing sound actually housed inside the mouth
    1977 Breath pressure actuated electronic instrument
    1978 Pressure transducer for musical instruments
    1979 Voice controlled instrument
    1979 Control system for an electronic music synthesizer

    1981 Wind sensing mouthpiece for electronic instruments
    1982 Musical apparatus
    1984 Hand-held musical instrument and systems including a man-machine interface
    1985 Musical instrument
    1987 Musical Instrument (flute)
    1988 Synthesized Whistle
    1988 Entertainment and creative expression device for easily playing along to background music
    1989 Detection of Musical Gestures

    1990 Musical wear – finger switched by Hideo Suzuki for Yamaha
    1990Air flow response controlled musical instrument
    1990 Electronic musical instrument with pitch alteration function
    1991 Electronic Saxophone
    1991Musical keyboard for buttonless woodwind synthesizer
    1991 Electronic musical instrument with a tone parameter control function
    1991 Electronic musical instrument with improved generation of wind instruments
    1992 Electronic musical instrument with selection of standard sound pitch of a natural instrument
    1992 Pitch data output apparatus for electronic musical instrument having movable members
    1993 Breath controller for musical instruments
    1995 Electronic musical instrument with tone generation control
    1995 Electronic musical instrument having key after-sensors and stroke sensors to determine differences between key depressions
    1996 Musical instrument having voice function
    1997 Hands-free input device for operating a computer having mouthpiece with plurality of cells
    1997 Wind instruments with electronic tubing length control
    1998 Hybrid electronic and acoustic musical instrument
    1999 Electronic wind instrument capable of diversified performance expression
    1999 Woodwind-styled electronic musical instrument

    2002 Musical instruments that generate notes according to sounds and manually selected scales
    2002 Musical wind instrument and method for controlling such an instrument
    2003 Voice-controlled electronic instrument
    2003 Wind controller for music synthesizer
    2005 Musical tone generating apparatus and method for generating musical tone on the basis of detection of pitch of input vibration signal
    2006 Hybrid wind instrument selectively producing acoustic tones
    2008Tone generator control apparatus and program for electronic wind instrument
    2009 Electric wind instrument and key detection structure thereof
    2010 Hybrid wind musical instrument and electric system incorporated therein
    2010 Instrument
    2010 Flute controller driven dynamic synthesis system
    2010 Wind musical instrument with pitch changing mechanism and supporting system

    I think the term “Ghost Music” is too vague and helped to contribute to Yuri’s feeling that I needed to restate my central thesis again. What about “The Transparent Brass Band”? Then you get the nice consonance of “Transparent Trumpet,” “Transparent Trombone” and “Transparent Tuba.”

  • scottpeterman 12:13 am on April 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Materials Workshop 

    Just wanted to provide a brief summary of the Materials Workshop and Symposium that a few of us got a chance to take part in this week. The daytime workshop was lead by Elisabeth de Senneville and her grad students Cristobal and Martin. It was great to get to meet them, particular Martin as he is working on designing an instrument of his own, the Flampour, which though it doesn’t use MIDI or sound (it plays only in light) is analogous to my own work so it is great to know I have someone from a very different background that I can bounce ideas off of.

    Elisabeth runs the textile innovation lab at EnSAD, where she has been inventing and designing for almost thirty years. She brought five fabrics, four of them her own invention, with her to the workshop – bioluminescent felt, resistant cotton fabric, liquid crystical polyester (that changes color from navy to bright blue when stretched) and woven fiber optics from her lab, and then volcanically coated biomagnetic fabric made at a lab in portugal.

    For the workshop, we were given partners (I ended up with Chanthi, a third year undergrad Fashion Student) and were asked to draw four cards from provided decks to gain inspiration.

    We immediately began to ideate around creating a line of activewear using the LC fabric, as it would both play to the materials strengths (stretchiness, motion related changes). You can see our process and final results here

    That evenings symposium consisted of Elisabeth explaining her process and also included a scentmaker and another Parsons professor, this one from the architecture school.

    But the most interesting part of the night was Matt Johnson and his incredible conductive ink, Bare Conductive

    This stuff is truly amazing. They had demos set up that used this simple ink as wiring, as a flex sensor, and amazingly as a very accurate rangefinder! The possibilities of this technology are so massive, and its connection to my own work so strong, that I was incredibly excited to get a chance to play with it and can’t wait till we get some of our own (about six months out) to play with!

  • scottpeterman 11:50 pm on April 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Ghost Music Prototype Iteration 

    porotype diagram

    Here is a prototype triangle for my Ghost Music Prototypes to date. As you can no doubt see, my prototypes to date have fallen very strongly in the implementation quadrant, and I am definitely planning on spending the next few rounds of iteration focusing more extensively on the look and feel of the project. Early user feedback has confirmed the need to work on this area of development, as to a person everyone who has played the glove has claimed that it works very well, but it is neither as cool nor as silly as they thought the experience would be when I first explained it to them.
    (More …)

    • scottpeterman 11:07 pm on April 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Great suggestions all!

      So to recap – Chris suggested actually using the trumpet mechanics to make this work, by putting the sensor at the end of the process and actually changing the over all pressure using the buttons as valves. I think this is a very interesting suggestion and one I hadn’t thought about yet. I think in the end this isn’t the direction I want to go, as the overall feedback has been MORE pantomime not less, but great avenue of thinking.

      Lief suggested two things – one, going back to flex sensors, this time using an enclosure; two, using a guitar string being stretched on the back of the hand as the flex sensor. Both things I’ll explore.

      Hilal – as you mentioned i should definitely get in touch with cecilia again to discuss!

      Finally, great suggestion on the tilt sensor Yuri! I will be getting my hands on all of these asap so that I will hopefully have version 2 ready to go next monday!

    • hilalkoyuncu 12:48 am on April 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

  • scottpeterman 9:48 pm on March 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    Here are three scenarios I could imagine someone using the ghost instrument.

    I have a TON of inspirational images for this project. Here they are:

    Ghost Music Pic

    And here are a couple of circuit drawings:

    And finally, a video of me using the first breadboard version of the trumpet:

    BONUS:I WILL USE THIS to make the zombie laser game as well… Just for fun… And come out and play festival.

    • scottpeterman 10:13 pm on March 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      For me the easiest part of this was collecting the images for the look prototypes. In fact, it was so easy and my brain started rolling on it so quickly that there was no way for me to limit it to just three and I kind of just posted everything that I have, in mood board form.

      It’s funny, because the hardest thing seems a bit contradictory next to this – the hardest thing for me is figuring out what I actually want this thing to look like. I tried some sketches but none of them even come close. Perhaps that’s why I’ve poured myself fully into the tech part of the prototype – actually making a glove that CLEARLY looks like/is a prototype to avoid having to decide which of these fantastical sci fi looks to go with for the final project.

      Picking each of the components has been a struggle on it’s own – i tried piezo speakers and mics but eventually stumbled on this pressure sensor. I tried buttons first, then conductive thread, then conductive ribbon, before coming back to ribbon.

      I am planning on adding a photoresistor to allow people to cup the trumpet, but I may just use a range finder so that the same glove can be a trumpet or trombone (or tuba, with a fourth button). Making the temp glove was easy since I just basically used a wrist brace.

  • scottpeterman 6:05 pm on March 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    6 Ideas I am interested in pursuing for my thesis… 

    Scott Ghost Orchestra sketch
    1. Ghost Orchestra
    This is an idea I am already working on – it would be a series of instruments that are wearable and functionally invisible. So the players would be able to play their instrument – trumpet, trombone, drums, guitar, etc. – by “air” playing and the glove/wearable would translate their motions into MIDI which could then be translated into audio.

    Scott POTY sketch
    2. Party of the Year
    This is another idea I’ve already done some work on. It is a social game for mobile devices that gives players incentives for spontaneously performing in public – imagine 20 complete strangers simultaneously breaking out in dance while waiting for a train in Grand Central.

    Scott Uniform Sketch
    3. I want to start wearing a uniform for a number of reasons, primary among them a desire to remove all instances of meaningless choice from my life. Also, I would like to open up my closet and see only matching outfits, like Inspector Gadget. I want to simultaneously embed my most common daily items – wallet, keys, water bottle, sunglasses and phone – with sensors that will alert my digital belt buckle if I am ever going to leave any of those things behind. Finally, I want it to make my computer and phone NOT work if I am not wearing the uniform, to force me to conform.

    Other World sketch
    4. This is an idea I’ve had since I was in high school, and has become piece of software that Thom and I are already working on and might want to pursue for a thesis. This is essentially AR technology that would allow people to see an entire second world mapped onto our own. People could put up artwork, comment on the world around them, etc. I would particularly like to pursue an idea I have of hiding monsters around the world for people to find.

    Xenomorph sketch
    5. Xenomorph
    This would be a technology-enable ballet, set to Jerry Goldsmith’s unused score for the film Alien, that tells that story from the creature’s point of view. It would be an epic meditation on otherness, on man vs. nature vs. machine.

    Artbot sketch
    6. ArtBot
    This would be a robot that took typed text instructions and turned them into art, which it then executed in paint on a wall. The test for this being complete would be whether it could successfully execute the collected works of my favorite artist, Sol LeWitt.

    7. BONUS IDEA – ZombieTag
    Oh, I forgot about this one when I was sketching but I want to make a laser tag game with squibs (blood packs) that explode when you get shot. This would first be used to host a giant Zombie Shooting Party. I have a background in theater and all of our plays have been very bloody, so I’m pretty confident with the gore part of the equations…

    And here is a venn diagram of how these ideas connect. As you’ll see, they’re all included in the broad category of “Funny,” which I think perfectly sums up my aesthetic!

    scott's idea venn diagram

    • breegeek 12:32 am on March 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      #4 is especially awesome because every kid would love to see their imaginary friends come to life. It’s part of the reason Webkins totally took off.

  • scottpeterman 10:52 pm on March 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    MIDI Room Tones 

    So my whole PHP Xbee thing ended up crashing my computer, again! So square one (Well, also tried the ethernet shield but couldn’t get it running either, server side).

    I tried something very different! I’d been reading a John Cage biography over break and it inspired me to create a MIDI instrument that makes music in response to what is going on in the room. It uses a temperature sensor, an electret microphone, and a photoresistor. It passes the values to the arduino, which then maps them to MIDI values between 0 and 127 setting tone and velocity of notes played, as well as turning notes on and off. Temperature sets velocity. Light sets tone. Audio interrupts the light tone with a louder note of its own, with tone being set by volume – louder being higher. Right now this is all going in as one MIDI instrument, but it should be possible to run two versions of the processing sketch that is interpolating between the serial values and the MIDI input on the computer (and this is also only being used to make the USB serial port a MIDI in – putting a MIDI output on the arduino would make this unnecessary, as would running off a MIDI breakout box). I’ve been playing around with MIDI a lot and have found this to be a pretty good work flow for using the arduino as a midi controller.

    (More …)

    • makingtoys 1:21 pm on March 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      You made your apartment an installation work. Very nice, I did not see this complexity in class during presentation. You are showing many valuable concepts here functioning for the first confusing time.

  • scottpeterman 11:12 pm on March 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    1/2 way there 

    So I am attempting to talk directly though the xbee coordinator into php, storing to a mysql database, so the info will be live viewable and the sensors will be controllable from the computer or mobile device.

    I worked off of this project using LCDs and xbees

    The toggle switch webpage works like this…

    		  p { color:red; margin:5px; cursor:pointer; }
    		  p .toggleon { color:red; margin:5px; cursor:pointer; }
    		  p .toggleoff { color:red; margin:5px; cursor:pointer; }
    		  <script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.5.js"></script>
    		  <p class="toggleon">TOGGLE ON</p>
    		  <p class="toggleoff">TOGGLE OFF</p>
    		    $("p").click(function () { 

    (More …)

  • scottpeterman 11:07 pm on March 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Bathroom Duck 

    So this was quite a struggle! First couldn’t get api mode to work, then got it working with two arduinos and managed to fry one of them! But finally got it up and running. The duck lives in the bathroom and sends a signal to the alertbox (an old 60s clock) if the bathroom is occupied.
    duck sensor wiring
    (More …)

  • scottpeterman 11:03 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Magic Mirror 

    Magic Mirror can offer validation (if you need to feel good) or motivation (if you need your butt kicked). It can tell if you are close or far away and will offer comments accordingly. Also, it knows if the lights are on or off. If they are on and you are not nearby, it will alert you to turn the lights off! It uses a bitmap image based on the Magic Mirror from Disney’s Snow White, which was created on the PC using Adobe Illustrator and Bitmap Converter and then stored as an array of hex values which are converted using the ST765 LCD library.

    (More …)

    • makingtoys 3:40 am on February 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      great concept. Great sound effects. If you 1)use a max of two words per screen & 2) make the text “face expressions” this project will transform.

      The text prompts would really be best as voice prompts. [In my view.] An iconic and graphic face with those cool sounds you have now, will make an R2D2 type experience. The user will be communicating with a mirror-bot, that has it’s quirky personality. At once and over time, the user learns to love and understand this cute little entity.

  • scottpeterman 4:33 am on February 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toy Fair 


    I was pretty intrigued by the spyro the dragon action figure/game combo. I’m sure some of this is due to great personal fondness for the original ps1 spyro the dragon video games, but this fairly pedestrian but fun seeming cooperative action-brawl game looked fun enough on its own using the wii controls. The game itself was secondary to the character system, which featured a pad that allowed the player to place one of 30 spyro action figures on the included pad accessory and play as that action figure in game, making up a total of 8 classes of powers. Game status/unlockables/upgrades are all stored to the action figure and can travel cross-platform. Sure it’s an excuse to make more $ from a game, but at least it’s doing it by doing something cool. Also, you can play coop by putting any two action figures on the pad. Very neat.


    These Tandars were pretty detailed! Sure they still kinda look like Furbies/Gizmo, but their faces were so advanced. Their eyes were so bizarre and glistening, and they really had so many distinct expressions. So creepy, with their little human baby faces. Pretty cool that puppets of 25 years ago, that took 5-10 pioneers, can now really be approximated by a reasonably priced electronic toy. Now someone needs to make something that ISN’T a gremlin…


    These toys were really cool, and example of a very simple and reproducible mechanical element. This playset was really neat, the battle element very engaging. Plus the guy who showed us the booth turned out to be the lead product designer. He pretty much does the whole thing himself, and these toys are pretty big. Interesting conversation!

  • scottpeterman 9:14 pm on February 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Three Critters 

    Cabinet Guy


    Cabinet Guy is a small bot. He has two big eyes, one of which is a photocell. He also has a big, cheap speaker for a mouth. He’s kind of the digital equivalent of a Honker:

    (More …)

  • scottpeterman 11:21 pm on February 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Illusion of Life – Free Write Scott 

    View Whiny Baby Project

    1. Explain in a nutshell your code – structure, logic, important points

    Our code was based on the pitch-follow example from arduino.cc. Last week, we really enjoyed the oscillating sounds made by varying the tone back and forth with for loops and wanted to explore this more deeply. This also allowed use to create a device that utilized the full spectrum of sound the speaker could create.
    (More …)

  • scottpeterman 10:49 pm on February 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    These are very noisy sonographs! These babies are yet unborn. But they are sooo whiny, crying so loud. One likes darkness. One likes light. If they get what they want they calm down and purr, like good babies do. If they don’t, they cry so loud!

    Arduino with photo resistor, 8 Ohm speakers, vibrating motor inside a plastic tub.

    (More …)

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