Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Practical Course on Physical Computing

Electronic Xylophone – Group 5

Published on: April 13, 2015 | Author: Kai Holländer | Categories: 2015a, Projects

„Create a music instrument“ – This was the theme for our project work for the next six days. Our mission was to build a digital instrument which either received tunes over a midi port and played these or created tunes and sent them over a midi port.

After some googling for music instruments and checking ebay classified adverts for more inspiration, our first idea was to build a digital musical clock. We instantly started making
first sketches.

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Day 2 – Introduction to Arduino

Published on: April 13, 2015 | Author: Kai Holländer | Categories: 2015a, Daily Logs, Lecture

Day 2 – Part 1
9 – 12 am

After getting started on day one with basic principles of electrical engineering, we got in touch with physical problems. Pure programming follows a clear logic. Building hardware requires knowledge about the interaction of several parts, which needs to be kept in mind while developing ideas.


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The Final Presentation

Published on: April 9, 2015 | Author: Olivia Hofer | Categories: 2015a, Final Presentations

After all, the bic concert (also known as the final presentation) has come and the participants are excited to see how the concluding projects sound (and look) like. Questions, like “is it really possible to connect a pan flute to a glockenspiel?” fill the room. Here is what the teams have achieved:


Team 1 – Pawntatonic

Published on: April 8, 2015 | Author: Sonia Patlán | Categories: 2015a, Projects


„PawnTatonic“, the Chess Sequencer

PawnTatonic is a custom made chess game in an elegant black and white design that works at the same time as a step sequencer.  You can not only play a game of chess but also make music with it, either during the game or on stage, underlining the atmospheric beeps with spectacular light effects from deep red LEDs. It adds a fancy and sophisticated look to every place you put it and makes everyone gaze in awe and you can not only change the speed of the melody but also change from pentatonic scale to a standard major C-Scale. Price on application.


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Team 4 – Drum like a bike

Published on: April 8, 2015 | Author: Iris Maurer | Categories: 2015a, Projects

“Hi, my name is Iris and this is Olivia! We are currently doing our master in media informatics at the LMU. And we are team 4!”

Iris Olivia


“Olivia, let’s talk about the project we were working on during last week! Do you remember our first day when we were wondering about how our MIDI instrument could look like?”

“Yeah, I do remember! We thought about a wheel, but we had absolutely no idea how to produce sounds with it.”


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Team 3: MIDI Panflute

Published on: April 8, 2015 | Author: Fabian Nußberger | Categories: 2015a, Best Projects, Projects

Team 3 consisted of Fabian and Alex, two “Medieninformatik” Master students. Since we have worked together on many projects before, we decided to team up with other people this time. But fate had other plans and be both drew the number 3 when teams were assigned. And so the dream team was at it once again!

Keyboard hacking:
On the first day we took our first steps in the world of electronics. After a crash course we made our first keyboard hack in the form of a game controller for the classic SNES-Game Bust a Move. The controller matched the targeting system in the game and allowed for unprecedented levels of immersion.

The Concept:
In a world, where almost every classic instrument from the guitar to the piano, has been digitized we found one instrument that has not yet made the transition to bleeps and bloops: The panflute. Coming from South America and spreading all over the worlds pedestrian areas, this classic wonderful instrument is sorely missing from the arsenal of electronic musicians.
We saw a world without a MIDI-Panflute and said : This will not do!

A midi panflute

Behold the MIDI panflute.

The panflutes blueprint.

The panflutes blueprint.

Our main goal for the flute was, that each pipe would produce a different tone when blown.
To achieve a full range of 8 tones we placed a light sensor on top of each pipe that would modulate the tones when obstructed by a finger.


Day 7

Published on: April 8, 2015 | Author: Alexander Klimczak | Categories: 2015a, Daily Logs

About storms and stress

Tuesday, the 31st of march 2015 was a stressful day in many regards. Cyclone Niklas was devastating western europe. The windows were rattling with the wind all day and the tree in front of the building kept swaying around, looking dangerously close to being pulled out of the ground. No one really wanted to leave for a lunch break, and if they did, they were quick. The S-Bahn in Munich was shut down and so our tutor was stuck in Munich, offering a few more highly appreciated hours of advice and support.

It was also the last day before the final presentation. That’s why I decided to go around at the end of each hour and ask the teams for their stress levels, rated from 1 to 10. This resulted in the following graph:

On the x-axis you see the time  and on the y-axis you see the stress level.stresslevels


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Day 8: The final 3 hours before the presentation

Published on: April 8, 2015 | Author: Fabian Nußberger | Categories: 2015a, Daily Logs, Final Presentations

We were warned by Bernhard, that in the last years the final hours before the presentation were always cursed and no project was safe from magically breaking down and going up in flames.

With this in mind every sketcher is on the edge of their seats and rushing to finish their work. Well everyone except for Group 2, who finalized their “one-man/woman-vest” the day before, Group 78, which is shifting between updating their mashroom with even cooler sounds and “lending” it as a testing device to other groups and Group 5, that took the last 3 hours off of since their xylophone was already working like a charm.

Group 1, which took a night shift the day before to wire up all the existing pawns with LEDs, is now waiting for the 3D Printer to finish their second set. Nelson is not shy to brag about the 500+ soldering connections it took to make their cool boardgame-soundmatrix a reality. If there was a award for that -and there should be-Group 1 would be well deserving. Even though there is some bugfixing ahead before “Pawntatonic” will work, both teammembers are confident they will finish before the presentation.

Soldering the last pawns.

Soldering the last pawns.


Day 5 – Second day in project phase

Published on: April 8, 2015 | Author: Iris Maurer | Categories: 2015a, Daily Logs

It’s friday morning – the ideas were all further developed and implementation started now. There were some early birds in the garage, others were tinkering and brazing downstairs.




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Team 7/8 – The Magic Mashroom

Published on: April 7, 2015 | Author: Sven Unnewehr | Categories: 2015a, Projects

The Magic Mashroom 

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 23.03.32


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