At the Ross School, Senior Projects are a big deal. Will is one of the students that we’ve been helping to mentor and he has been working on creating an interactive musical sequencer / MIDI gallery installation for his Senior Project.
Will has been tinkering with a couple of different ways to accomplish his idea. The first one used a SparkFun 4X4 buttons and PCB which had great buttons and beautiful colors… but the number of pins it took was a real challenge.
His most recent version is based on Adafruit’s Trellis platform. After testing a single Trellis board, he fell in love with the system and jumped on the “Hella Untz” which after assembled only takes 4 pins on a Leonardo. Here’s the assembled version and he’s really excited:
We’re one week in to our M-term course here at Ross School’s Innovation Lab.
This year’s course title: “PROGRAMMER’S WORKSHOP: Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence“.
The students have been doing some beginner to intermediate Arduino Programming and explored some of the basic electronic systems and hardware available, but in preparation for ordering parts and building something much bigger we unboxed the Barbie branded Power Wheels Kawasaki KFX with Monster Traction! …. and boy is itpink.
The hope is to make this into a completely autonomous GPS enabled rover that can navigate from one end of campus to the another without human interaction. Mechanically it will be an interesting hack and programming it to avoid obstacles by steering around hazards will be the biggest challenge for the students.
Following a guide on one of Neurosky’s developer pages, we connected their bluetooth enabled Mindwave Mobile headset (an EEG) to an Arduino that had a bluetooth module connected to it. Also on the breadboard is a LED bar graph that is setup to display the level of “concentration” for the wearer of the synced headset.
Once the bluetooth connection was made and an appropriate Arduino sketch (code) was uploaded, the computer was able to also display the headset’s values via the Arduino USB serial monitor. (displayed on the screen here)
It should be fairly to easily modify this code and create “mind control devices” that are connected to the Arduino (ie: a motor). We should also be able to capture data from the EEG for future experiments and areas of study.
Neurosky’s Mindwave Mobile bluetooth EEG headset and an Arduino with a bluesmirf module.
Our MakerBot Replicator Dual needed some help. One of the extruders was clogged. It was the type of clog that could only be fixed by partial disassembly. It seems to be pretty happy now but the filament loading sequence seemed to produce an extrusion that periodically sounded like it was slipping. This test print seems to have worked out fine, so we’ll just keep an eye on it.
Bluetooth hardware with pins added
A BlueSmirf is a bluetooth modem that can be integrated in to Arduino based systems. I’ve added some pins that I’ve bent to allow the card to be positioned vertically from a breadboard for easy test and hopefully better range. The bent pins will likely work well if we plan to integrate it in to a headband or other wearable project later on.
Using an older Yamaha Disklavier grand piano that has an outdated floppy disk driven interface, we added a Sparkfun MIDI shield to an Arduino to drive the piano. The laptop is connected to the Arduino in the video only to supply power to the microcontroller.
The video shows a program Dr. Morgan wrote that generates a random but vaguely-musical-sounding melody.