beetbox :: organic musical instrument
Scott Garner, a student at NYU-ITP, created this wonderful musical instrument where the drums are actual beets. Here’s Scott’s description of the project:
The BeetBox is primarily an exploration of perspective and expectations. Iâ€™m particularly interested in creating complex technical interactions in which the technology is invisibleâ€”both in the sense that the interaction is extremely simple and in the literal sense that no electronic components can be seen.
The enclosure was created from .5â€³x8â€³ poplar boards, which I cut to size and finished using various hand and power tools. I used a router for both the edge details and for grooves in which to conceal the wires, and a drill press to create the speaker grill and to bore holes for the beets with a hole saw. I then stained the wood and, after assembly with wood glue and a nail gun, sealed the enclosure with polyurethane.
Touch sensing is handled by an MPR121 Capacitive Touch Sensor from SparkFun, for which I ported existing Arduino code to Python. This board communicates with a Python script on a Raspberry Pi via I2C. The script watches for new touches and triggers drum samples using pygame. Audio from the Piâ€™s line out is run through a small amplifier I built using an LM386, which is based on a circuit straight from the data sheet. The amp is connected to a salvaged speaker mounted under the holes in the lid.
Source code for the BeetBox is viewable on GitHub.