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Physical Computing Weeks 5 & 6 - Working Title: Icarus and Organic Techno

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

i. Lab Videos [Headphone Warning]

Blog entries below.

- Voltage controlled switches and cross modulation of audio oscillators.

- Adding an op amp into the mix.

- Continuing to improvise connections.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with connections and making a spaghetti mess - going forward I want to research and practice some common synth design techniques

ii. Blog Entries:

Week 5 - Working Title: Icarus

I caught up with my labs and I settled on a project idea that took inspiration from the sonic creature featured in my previous post. I too wanted to make a decorative synth with unique and challenging human music interaction. The plan is to use recycled wine bottles to make a glass audiovisual sculpture decorated with LED strips and conductive paint markings (stencils possibly) that also function as synthesiser controls.

As a synthesiser (but also as a general principle) I want to experiment with a more artistic and holistic input/control system, moving away from traditional Western tonal influence. This project also has the affordance of utility as an dynamic light fixture when sound is not desirable.

With this as piece of art I want to represent my belief that as humans, we have flown too close to the sun. It is not too late, but dramatic changes in our relationship to technology are needed. Spiritually, a synth for the end times (and practically too if I can figure out how to do it elegantly).

Original plan: newspaper clippings/print offs in an hourglass like structure, opposing jars to have opposite themes of hope/despair. This might result in the use of a tilt sensor. If audio ends up as a chaotic drone machine, aesthetic might edge towards the depressing side. RGB LED strips also used for decorations.

Week 6: Organic Techno and Other IC Adventures)

For testing purposes I cut open an old audio cable to solder some thin wire on. I then plugged in to an old guitar amp I didn't mind blowing (luckily that didn't happen but it was very loud originally, even with the volume on zero).

After following basic principle of the audio synthesis circuits in two Casperelectronics videos [video 1 / video 2], I began to improvise with a CD40106BE and experimented with numerous different connections combinations. A lack of potentiometers began to frustrate me to I decided to salvage some pots and ICs from two old DIY kits that I messed up long ago, and realistically was never going fix. The 10kOhm pot that came with my kit from UAL worked best; 100kOhm was overkill, and the 50kOhm was not much better. I also think that my 50Ks were a mix of linear and log pots (blue and green?), more research required. However, they were still enough to get an audible effect and I had a lot of fun playing around with countless different configurations and annoying my neighbours.

Most of IC collection are op-amps, so will target my next deep dive on these before learning more about some of the more complex chips. See following list:

                       My List of Random ICs:


        //TL064CN x4
        //TL072CP x1 
        //TL074CN x1
        //TL072IP x2
        //LM358N x1 
        //LF442CN x1
        //NE5532A x1


        //ATmega328P x1 - same as the Arduino? What cool stuff could I do with this? Probably has old code on it - getting it off is challenging- just play around to see what happens?
        //KP590KH5 x1 - Quad SPST - layout unsure - conflicting data sheets (see below)
        //AD7545LN x1 - 12bit Buffered Multipling CMOS D/A Converter
        //SN74HC595N x1 - 8 bit Shift Reg
        //CD4011BE x1  - Quad NAND Gates
        //CD40106BE x3 - Hex Schmidt Triggers
        //L293D x1 Quad Half-HDrivers

Above & below: Conflicting KS90KH5 Data Sheets.


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