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Practical Course on Physical Computing

Team 7 – Smoke on the Floppy – Technical documentation

Published on: April 20, 2017 | Author: Daniel Peter Neumann | Categories: 2017a, Projects

Another take on “floppy music”. 

Please note: This is just an excerpt of a 20+ page-long, super detailed tutorial, especially made for absolute beginners.
If this blogpost is not enough, please download the whole step-by-step-tutorial, including example-files and the main-code!

After spending a whole day on an impossible idea, we had to think about something new and different – and yes, we we’re quite lucky as Adina’s father offered us an unused pc-housing and I got the idea of turning it into a music-station with sound-generating floppy drives as the main attraction.



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Day 4 – Ideas Take Form

Published on: April 17, 2017 | Author: Fuad Soudah | Categories: 2017a, Daily Logs

Day 4

Introduction: It seems that every group stepped beyond the preliminary brainstorming process and went ahead with the upbringing of their ideas. Either that or continued deciding between the remaining alternatives. At this point the matter in question was whether we’ll have enough time, but some teams remained confident, with their minds already preset on a common idea. Therefore, making sure that it comes to life was an objective that was continuously being undertaken in a rather diligent manner, simultaneously by all. By the end of the day, despite the interviews of which outcome varied a notch, it seemed that everyone was on point. That was a good harbinger for our projects, as they were about to become sound quite soon!

Team 1 (BoomBox?): Having managed to agree on the preliminary idea on the second day, we pursued the initial concept and made subtle iterations to accommodate the physical constraints that we have ran into along the way. At early stages we browsed through the provided tools and tested the Arduino kit. Martin designed and laser-cut an ideal acrylic plate, which turned out to be perfect for mounting the capacitors onto. Afterwards, he prepared the wooden blocks to mount the motors on, which came with some struggle, considering the fragility of the material. I measured and mapped out the objects in Adobe Illustrator and then managed to adapt them accordingly onto the physical surface. I also tried running all five micro-controllers, but it seemed that they lacked power. We decided to address this issue tomorrow.


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Team 3 – Graff-O-Phon Technical Documentation

Published on: April 12, 2017 | Author: Florian Lehmann | Categories: 2017a, Projects


We started with a brainstorming phase after Bernhard announced the topic on day two of this “MIDI-Madness — creating a musical instrument”. Therefore we collected several ideas and picked the most promising:

Using old graffiti cans with different fill levels to produce sounds in analogy to a drum set.

Based on this theme we sketched first ideas on how to build the instrument and experimented with electronic actuators to test sound generation with graffiti cans, e.g. with servos and solenoids. We decided to use a solenoid to “shoot” on the plain metal surface of the cans to generate sounds. In total we used six graffiti cans and hit them along the vertical axis on two different position to generate twelve sounds.



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Team 3 – Graff-O-Phon

Published on: April 12, 2017 | Author: Florian Lehmann | Categories: 2017a, Best Projects, Projects

YO! We are Matze and Flo, both master students in media informatics and human-computer interaction. As we are strongly influenced by the hip hop culture, respectively graffiti culture, we are very proud to introduce the world’s first midi-graffiti-can-drumset: The Graff-O-Phon.

The Graff-O-Phon generates sounds with a solenoid that shoots on graffiti cans and is attached to a servo motor (vertical movement) which in turn is mounted on top of the shaft of a stepper motor (horizontal movement). This way the solenoid is able to hit the graffiti cans on several positions. Depending on the fill levels of the cans and the hitting positions, we generate twelve sounds in total.

Enough said! Fasten your seatbelt and check out the video:

Technical documentation

Team 1 presents: BoomBox – The Movie

Published on: April 12, 2017 | Author: Martin Gross | Categories: 2017a, Best Projects, Projects

Find a more detailed outline of the project here.

Team 1 – Boom Box

Published on: April 12, 2017 | Author: Martin Gross | Categories: 2017a, Projects

The Boom Box, built by team 1 of the 2017A intake of SWH-students, tackles the proposed subject “MIDI Madness” in a very unique way. And in a very destructive one, nonetheless.

The basic idea behind this project is to not generate different tones by classical means like hitting objects to produce sound or by electronically producing them. Instead, it produces the sounds in a more destructive way: By employing small explosions.

When thinking about small explosions in electronics, capacitors come to mind as they tend to exhale their live quite easily and quickly when provided with a too high voltage. As popping capacitors this way is quite easy, we chose to go down that route. But it should be noticed, that emitting the “magic smoke” from electronic parts is not limited in any way to capacitors: Using resistors, LEDs and pretty much any other electronic part and a little too much voltage yields the same results.



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Team 2 | MidiMassOrgel

Published on: April 11, 2017 | Author: Manuel Hartmann | Categories: 2017a, Best Projects, Projects

Sketching with Hardware exclaims:

It’s time for madness – MIDI Madness!

So our answer is the MidiMassOrgel (MMO).

  • MIDI – Musical Instrument Digital Interface
  • Mass – In our case not really a Maß but at least a beer crate is used.
  • Orgel – An instrument that produce sound by channeling wind through pipes.

All this components combined create an instrument with monumental sound*!

(*That it could have, if the double action hand air pump would not be so noisy ;))


Day 1 – let’s get the party started!

Published on: April 11, 2017 | Author: annabelle.bockwoldt | Categories: 2017a, Daily Logs, Lecture

The first day at this year’s Sketching with Hardware at the Media Informatics Lab of the LMU Munich.

The lucky students who happened to end up at the 2nd floor of the faculty’s building at Amalienstrasse had to overcome several obstacles first:

1st: Cruel darwinism took its toll. Unfortunately not everyone who applied got accepted (acceptance ratio of 1:3).

2nd: You have to pass the Chamber of Secrets while walking upstairs (there really is that mysterious door with exact that name tag on it) …


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The Servo Guide

Published on: April 11, 2017 | Author: Nedko Chulev | Categories: 2017a, Tutorials

1. Introduction and basic components of a servo motor
2. Weight
3. Energy consumption
4. Gear types
5. How far does the servo turn?
6. How does the servo move?
7. Digital or analogue
8. Servo project ideas
10. Additional information


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Day 8

Published on: April 11, 2017 | Author: Matthias Geiger | Categories: 2017a, Daily Logs

Monday, 3rd of April was the last day before the final presentation of every instrument and nearly every team struggled to get everything done in time. A piece of good news: the MIDI ports, which were believed to be broken seemed to work fine in the end. All in all it was a successful day with a lot of progress for each team.

To get a general overview, all teams were asked for a quick status report and some stress level measurements on a scale from 1 to 10 (hard to observe) had been conducted, which show a rather decreasing trend throughout the day, but certainly there would been some exceptions and outliers.

overall stresslevel


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