Kinetic Artwork Reads and Writes Iron and Silica

Berlin-based Brazilian artist and technologist Luiz Zanotello has made a kinetic artwork called A Habitat of Recognition, which reads and writes an ore made of iron and silica particles.

Luiz Zanotello is a Brazilian artist and designer based in Berlin. For his master degree in Digital Media at the University of the Arts Bremen, Zanatello created a work called A Habitat of Recognition. The artist explains that the work “enacts an infrastructural imaginary where an ore of granule particles (silica and iron) is written and read as a granular record”.

The reading of the ore and writing of the record is realised by the sensing, sorting and separating of an ore made of a mixture silica (non-magnetic) and iron (magnetic). Zanatello says that this sorting mechanism “resembles the processes that occur on the sorting of vast landscapes into mineral ores.”

A Habitat of Recognition is controlled with a pair of Teensy 3.1 boards, plus a number stepper and servo motors controlled with a Theremino driver board. The hardware and code used to create this artwork have been documented over on the Arduino website, and you can see more images, videos and read more about the concepts on Zanatello’s site.

Image and video above from Ferreira Zanotello, L. G. (2017) A Habitat of Recognition. Full thesis available on his website.

Rover with Mavlink Messaging

Forum user MJS513 wanted their rover to send information to a base station while on the move, so they used a Teensy 3.5 to set up Mavlink messaging.

MJS513 upgraded their DIY rover communications with MAVLink, a Teensy 3.5 and APM Planner. MAVLink is a way for unmanned vehicles such as rovers and drones to talk with a base station. By using this protocol in with a Teensy 3.5, MJS513 was able to to send data from their rover to APM Planner, an open source ground station.

Instead of having to send data to the serial monitor and process it all later, this project allows MJS513 to view live data and issue commands to their rover. Check out the YouTube video to see it in action. The source code has also been released on MJS513’s GitHub.

Electronic Traditional Musical Instrument Collection

Laserr has made a collection of homemade electronic instruments that draw inspiration from musical traditions around the world.

Drawing inspiration from traditional musical instruments from around the world, Laserr (forum user) has made a collection of homemade electronic instruments using the Teensy 2.0 and Teensy ++.

The first set of reworked world instruments includes a bulbul tarang (also known as an Indian or Panjabi banjo), a guzheng (a stringed instrument from China that dates back over 2500 years), a didgeridoo (an aboriginal Australian wind instrument), an erhu (an ancient two stringed instrument from China) and a hurdy gurdy (a drone folk instrument popular in Medieval Europe).

Each of the five instruments makes creative use of capacitive touch to trigger and modulate sounds designed in Native Instruments’ Kontact 5 software.  As well as recreating the sounds of each of the five instruments, Laserr has come up with ways for players to add in texture to their  performances with controls for effects including tremelo, vibrato, tone and rhythm.

Another nice touch on some of the instruments is the option to include accompanying sounds, such as wind chimes with the guzheng or piano with the erhu. It’s also lovely to see some of the quirks of these instruments recreated in the electronic versions, for example the charming inclusion of a hand crank on the hurdy gurdy.

You can find more information on this impressive collection of experimental electronic instruments by watching Laserr’s YouTube video above, and you can also read the original forum post. Laserr has also created a second collection of DIY electronic musical instruments which you can check out by watching the video below or on their YouTube channel.