Monthly Archives: August 2017

KeyNotes: A Play-Along Keyboard

Here’s one of my latest projects, still in development:  KeyNotes

KeyNotes: A full octave of Illuminated keys

KeyNotes: showing the full keyboard octave of 13 notes from C to C

KeyNotes is a illuminated keyboard that sports 13 notes that span one complete octave: from C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, and C.  Each key is connected to a micro-controller to sound and illuminate each note.

While still in development, the intention is that KeyNotes joins the other products that are designed to offer users the opportunity to engage with their environment through self-guided proscriptive stimulation to assist in decreasing responsive behaviours. KeyNotes players will be encouraged to play short pre-programmed sequences of commonly recognised melodies through both sound and light prompts.

The size and shape of each of the keys is modeled on my 88-note Yamaha Clavinova and cut from 12mm thick HDPE. The “white” notes and cut from one piece, while the “black’ notes are made from a sandwich of two pieces.  Each key pivots on a common brass bar that runs from dide to side.

KeyNotes: Photo of the design in progress. The two strings of LEDs are connected to discrete WS2811 chips mounted on veroboard strips. They are connected together to make one continuous string.

Each key activates a microswitch and is illuminated from below with a full-colour RGB LED. These LEDs are connected into one continuous ‘string’ that is controlled by the Arduino Nano.  The Arduino is responsible for sounding each note and to output key information to the MIDI output.

Neat, huh?

Fish for all the family!

As a welcome distraction from CNC machining of HDPE, I made a whole lot of little fish for a colleague of mine.

Can you spot the difference?

Fishes: cut out of 13mm red oak and “flap-sanded” smooth

Each of the fish is about 65mm (2 1/2″) long by 45mm (1 3/4″) tall with a through-hole eye and a small detail cut to a depth of 25%.

As these little beasts will get a lot of rough handling, I cut them from 13mm red oak, with the grain oriented along the body to protect the tail from breaking off. I sanded the faces and flap-sanded the profiles so that they were all nice a smooth.

In use they will be painted and used as clues to solve some part of an escape game… To keep the mystery, I won’t say moire than that!

Fishes: close-up-detail

Fishes: close-up detail

… And it’s not even Friday!

LIGHTWave: the latest member of interactive light devices

It is said that “a picture paints a thousand words” so a video should tell a better story?

Here’s a video of LIGHTWave

LIGHTWave is the latest member of the range of multi-sensory interactive products.

LIGHTWave is an interactive light display with animated light patterns that respond to hand movements and gestures.  Motion and distance is detected by a circle of six sensors that control different areas of the display, its light intensity and speed of the light animations.

LIGHTWave: showing light display surrounded by the six sets of ultrasonic seosors

LIGHTWave boasts six HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor that detect movement and distance surrounding nearly 100 individually addressable LEDs arranged in five concentric rings. Animated light patterns respond to input from the sensors to modulate colour, light intensity and animation speed.

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seXY Machine: Now sporting a new head!

I designed a new head for the seXY Machine to raise and lower a pen or stylus, under software command.

seXY Machine: The new head to raise and lower a pen or stylus

My friend, Doug Commons (a real electronics whiz), built a new controller board for the seXY Machine that runs GRBL software so that the machine can execute gCode directly from my CAD/CAM applications. In real English, it means that the seXY Machine can now be controlled using standard software that is widely supported by most computer-controlled design tools.

So it was time to give it a head!

The new head comprises of a modified end cheek that pockets the travel rods and a new face plate housing two brass rods and a metal-gear servo motor. These rods align with holes in a pen holder assembly to allow it to slide up and down. Two simple 6mm thick pen holders clamp the pen or stylus to the slide assembly using M3 screws.

A spring on the end of the servo horn lifts and lowers the assembly. The alignment of the servo is such that when it is in the lowered position, there is light downward pressure on the pen to keep it in contact with the drawing surface.

seXY Machine:showing adjustable pen / stylus holder

seXY Machine: showing servo motor and spring connection to the pen/stylus slide

All of the pieces of the head were cut on my CNC machine out of 12mm and 6mm HDPE and assembled using 3mm brass rod and M3 stainless steel hardware.

seXY Machine: closeup of the pen/stylus slide in its lowest position

Now, to do some drawing with it…

FLICKER: controllable intensity random flickering LED

An artist friend of mine asked me to create a light effect that he could use as part of one of his sculptures. The effect was to simulate bright white lightening that would illuminate a long thick clear acrylic rod.

I designed a unit to create random timing, random intensity light pattern that illuminated a 1W white LED.  In addition, I added a control that allowed the user to modulate the intensity of the effect from turned off all the way to full on.

The unit is based on an Arduino Nano that creates a random timing, random intensity light pattern to drive the 1W LED using a power FET.  Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is used to modulate the intensity of the LED. The software also takes an analogue input from the  potentiometer to allow the user to control the intensity of the light pattern; ranging from all off to full on.

FLICKER: small two-part HDPE housing with intensity control and input and output power jacks

FLICKER: connected to the 1W LED assembly. Note that the miniUSB of the Nano is accessible for future software loads

The FLICKER electronics is housed in a small two-part HDPE enclosure with also contains the input and output jacks, a rotary intensity control and an opening onto the miniUSB port of the Nano.