Transmitting waves through organic matter

By | May 14, 2012
Noisy Jelly may be cool and fun, but there's a bigger underlying principle. What do radio-wave-conducting mushrooms, noisy jelly, and acupuncture 'chi' have in common? All conduct some sort of impulse – explainable through modern science to various degrees – through organic matter. It's interesting what you can accomplish by that – and perhaps one day, we will observe some side effects of these charges passing through that could be used for other things – say, organic computing finally coming true.

Reshared post from +EuroTech

Noisy Jelly: Cooking Up Sound-Making Objects
Create your own musical instrument with a few grams of agar agar powder and some water.
by +Kellya Clanzig, +EuroTech; France

The player first creates the jelly with some powder and water, and then adds different colors, choosen between the blue “Basses”, the yellow “Melody”, the red “Scratches”, and the light blue “Sound”. The possiblities for variations and mixing are infinite. After 10 minutes, the jelly shapes can be extracted from the moulds and placed on the game board.

You are now ready to play: By touching the shape, the gamer will activate different sounds!

Technically, the game board is a capacitive sensor, realized with metal foil covered by a thin sheet of wood. The jelly conducts information thanks to its salt concentration, propagating the waves created by the finger contact to the Arduino board. The information depends on the shape and the salt concentration of the jelly, as well as the distance and strength of the finger contact.

The signal to generate the different sounds is picked up by Max/Msp (with Arduino2max). Max is a visual programming language for music and multimedia, developed and maintained by Cycling '74. Because of its extensible design and graphical interface, Max has been described as the lingua franca for developing interactive music performance software.

This object aims to demonstrate that electronics can have an aesthetic factor, and be envisaged as a malleable material, which can be manipulated and experimented with.

This project is a fully working prototype made with Arduino and Max/Msp, realized by two students; Raphaël Pluvinage and Marianne Cauvard at L'Ensci les Ateliers, for a semester course. L’Ensci, “Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Création industrielle”, is a French school for industrial design, one of the leading institutions in European design.

Amazingly, there is absolutely no sound editing in the video.

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