October 6, 2018
Tech_Time 011: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
by Chris Randall
I'm trying like hell to get back to a weekly AI, but circumstances dictated otherwise for #11. I would have only been a day late, because I didn't have the correct flavor of Arduino to do MIDI-over-USB and I didn't discover this until I tried to code it; easily solved by Amazon Prime, but then we inexplicably had a hurricane here in Phoenix (I know, right?) and as a result, my same-day delivery of a new Arduino Leonardo took 4 days to arrive.
All's well that ends well, though. Above is the fruits of hurricane-induced tardiness, the Magic Robotic Contact-Mic Hitter Thingie. Essentially, there are four cantilevered hammers I made on my Shapeoko that are struck by solenoids; the solenoids are driven via MIDI. In the video, I have the Arduino rigged as a class-compliant MIDI interface, and it is being driven by Bram Bos' Euclidian sequencer plugin, which is part of his Rozetta suite of MIDI plugins for iOS.
After building it, I see where it could be improved somewhat, but on the whole it does what I intended, and today or tomorrow I'll make some Music™ with it and see how it sits. Watch for that video shortly. Do any of you use electro-kinetic instrumentation like this in your music? If so, what are your thoughts on use cases and such?