Silophon // Week 7

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Physical Computing

This week (which was our final week working on the project!) we went through some obstacles with the sound. Along the way we had proposed various ideas to each other: How about trying to store the sound files on the Arduino Mega and playing it from there? We tried that but for some reason we were getting an awful digital sound (although the bright side was that there was some kind o communication going on). We were thinking of a bunch of other ideas, like using a Teensy, or using a MIDI Synth, but even if we were certain that those products would work, we had no way of ordering them in time for the final presentation. So, after consulting with our dear friend and super-knowledgeable classmate Nick Bratton, we were encouraged by all means to try and get our sound working by using MAX MSP.

This is what the program’s interface looks like:

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 10.51.20 PM

Basically, the program works in a very linear matter in the sense that it shows you all the steps (that you create) from beginning to end. The program actually ended up working really well for us and we used it for our final presentation as a sound generation.

The Story of Ada Lovelace

While Louis and I were putting the last pieces of the Silophon together, Louis mentioned that he would really like to meet the lady behind Adafruit. All this time I was sure the lady’s name was Ada, but actually, Louis enlightened me that Adafruit is named after a lady by the name of Ada Lovelace who is actually known to be the world’s first programmer. If I remember correctly, Ada was the daughter of a poet, and her mother forced her to study mathematics so as not to end up with a the “lousy future” of a poet. Ada indeed studied mathematics and and her notes on a certain type of machinery are considered to be the world’s first algorithm.

We also thought it would be great to have all of our wiring and connections be more organized, so we built a shield to house over the Arduino:


And that’s it! We finally accomplished to create the instrument we could only dream about 7 weeks ago.

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