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An Audio Sampler Rube Goldberg Would Love

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the let's-test-ourmedia dept.

Hardware Hacking 141

Thiago writes "Here is an audio sampler I made with 4 IR LEDs and 4 IR sensors. When something reflective goes by one of the sensor/LED combos, it triggers an event on the computer. On the videos, I mount the device on a turntable and use coins to trigger sound samples of my choice. I'd also like to make the project open-source (or whatever applies to hardware) but know nothing about licenses for this."

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Frosty pissing in the wind is fun :) (-1, Offtopic)

Bongoots (795869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222312)

DJ Silver is playing (happy) hardcore *LIVE* from Japan, as he does each Wednesday.

Tune in with your favourite player at http://www.di.fm/mp3/hardcore96k.pls and join the #hardcore channel on irc.di.fm :)

There are currently just short of 750 listeners.

Last Wednesday there were 1,054 people tuned into the most listened to 24/7 fully licensed hardcore station in the world. That was 100 more people than the previous highest count.

Let's try and break 1,100 listeners or more today. Together we can surely do it! :D

Thankyou to all those people who have been (and will be) tuning in :)

More details can be found out at http://www.HappyHardcore.com or http://www.DI.fm

Video Links... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222317)

Just in case site is ./'ed c/o Archive.Org Video 1 [archive.org] Video 2 [archive.org]

Re:Video Links... (0)

Peer (137534) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222423)

Just in case site is ./'ed c/o Archive.Org Video 1 Video 2

That's pretty funny! But it's modded 'Informative'!!

make it public domain to prevent licensing BS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222779)

free code is really free and in the public domain.

GPL cripple-licensed or propriety licenses are step down from public domain.

Licence (-1, Offtopic)

The Slashdotted (665535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222322)

Ohh Boy.. GPL v. BSD flamewar here we go. GPL: improvements by others must be public if improvements are sold. BSD: Must credit you.

Nitpick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222344)

GPL: improvements by others must be public if improvements are sold.

s/sold/released

Re: Nitpick (1, Interesting)

The Slashdotted (665535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222399)

Just to start a interesting flamewar..
1. If I create a trade group.
2. I invite everyone who wants my improvements to join my group.
3. No one outside my group gets the improvements.

Q.I'm not externally releasing the improvements, and am not obligated to release the code, am I?

Re: Nitpick (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222441)

Yes you are.
You are obligated to release the code to everybody in the group, then everybody in the group can release the code outside the group. You can't set rules for the group which restrict this either, since that would violate the GPL.

Not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222556)

Parent says:

I'm not externally releasing the improvements, and am not obligated to release the code, am I?

You say:

You are obligated to release the code to everybody in the group, then everybody in the group can release the code outside the group.

Of course, the code eventually making its way to the public implies that somebody within the group actually wants to release the project that contains the new code. If nobody wants to make it available to the public, and are using it "internally", then there is no real "obligation" to make the code publically available.

Morality aside, of course.

Re:Not quite (1)

hardcode57 (734460) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222753)

Even morality aside: you retain copyright to your changes, you're not obliged to release them to anyone: they are yours. All the GPL says is that, if you release the binary to someone, you have to give them access to the source, including your changes, in a buildable, non-obfuscated form, and you cannot restrict (under the licesnse) their right to change and redistribute under the same terms.

However, if you employ someone you can forbid them to distribute the code outside a certain circle, by threatening to fire them if they do.

Whether somone receiving an unauthorised distribution of changed code has a valid license to use the changes (as opposed to the original) under the terms of the GPL is interesting (at least to me). Anyone?

Interesting line of thought... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222928)

Not sure what to make of that one. It would depend on the circle. If any member thereof is outside of the supplier of the software, then that would constitute distribution and thereby activate the clauses in the GPL- the employer's obligated to provide source to the members of the circle they provided the binaries to. Now, having said this, there is absolutely NOTHING keeping those players from distributing it far and wide (anything, whether it be by a contract/agreement or licensing, activates the clauses in the GPL...).

Re: Nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222539)

1. If I create a trade group.
2. I invite everyone who wants my improvements to join my group.
3. No one outside my group gets the improvements.

As long as nobody in said group releases the "improved" project, then there would be no need to release the code. However:

  • If anyone in the group wants to release the project, (s)he will have to release the code
  • If anyone in the group wants to release the project, (s)he cannot be denied this right

If you're a company/trade-group, you can freely use GPL'd code within your organization. The moment you make it available to John Q. Public, you are obligated to provide him with the code, if requested.

Re: Nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222572)

Nope. You're only obligated to release code to the recipient.

It's slightly pedantic but is a fairly significant point for some organisations.

Re:Licence (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222408)

What's wrong with public domain?

Prior art (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222323)

I made something similar, consisting of several metres of wire, a video camera, a microphone, loudspeaker, a hammer, some heavy duty duct tape, and several cats.

Worked fantastically well, until the damn RSPCA turned up.

Told me it would have been fine if I'd only used poodles.

Re:Prior art (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222465)

Told me it would have been fine if I'd only used poodles.

Because they never complain?

Re:Prior art (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222836)

I tried pigs. But they kept squealing on me...

My God, a real Geek story (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222325)

A real geek story worthy of Slashdot? No whinging about the MPAA, RIAA, SCO or Microsoft? No Gentoo/Ubuntu/Debian/Apple love in? This is like Slashdot 2000.

Thank God!

Re:My God, a real Geek story (4, Funny)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222356)

Unless the RIAA decides to claim this is breaking the copy rights of the sample music!

or SCO claims that the IR LEDs are using a technology they developed but cannot be released; it's a trade secret!

but can Gentoo load and play the samples more quickly thanks to its more streamlined and modern kernel?!

/. always finds a way.

(ps: I'm just kidding. We all know that Apple already developed this technology and there's is far cooler and superior thanks to its scroll wheel.)

BallDroppings in hardware? (4, Interesting)

troon (724114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222326)

So this is like a physical version of the curiously addictive BallDroppings [balldroppings.com] , then?

Re:BallDroppings in hardware? (1)

Leontes (653331) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222426)

I hadn't seen BallDroppings before. That is mad fun, yo. I'm going to be showing this to a friend of mine who teaches music; this type of visual sound organization takes music creation to an instinctual level that can help teach the essential relationship between timing, spacial distance, musicality and visual anticipation. Damn cool program.

You don't need to open-source it. (0)

ovideon (634144) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222332)

IANAL, but as long as you tell people about how it works it can't be patented, and nothing else can be done to restrict its spread (DMCA etc notwithstanding).

Your job is done.

Re:You don't need to open-source it. (1)

Ithika (703697) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222352)

Ah, but to patent it you have to tell people how it works ... how confusing :)

Re:You don't need to open-source it. (1)

youknowmewell (754551) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222506)

You obviously don't understand how the patent system works.

Re:You don't need to open-source it. (4, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222521)

Ah, but to patent it you have to tell people how it works ... how confusing :)

Which is why WD-40 is not patented. They would have to tell the world what is in their product and they don't want to do that.

And before anyone remarks that I'm wrong, I just called the WD-40 corporation to verify this. I had heard about this a long time ago and wanted to confirm this information before I posted.

Re:You don't need to open-source it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222536)

They had someone working at 7:49 am on the west coast? Impressive.

Re:You don't need to open-source it. (1)

dukerobinson (624739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223102)

WD-40 Is graphite in a petrochemical solvent

Patents in a perfect world (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222359)

IANAL, but as long as you tell people about how it works it can't be patented...

...in theory. That's never stopped the USPTO from approving patents for well-known ideas before.

Re:You don't need to open-source it. (1)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222365)

IANAL, either, but I would think that you would want to patent it. Then freely disseminate the plans, but since you own the patent, nobody else can take credit for it.

Too late to patent it (1)

makapuf (412290) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222472)

You can't patent it now that's it's common knowledge (because it's been published to /.
Even if you did publish it.

Of course, this is only theoretical, in a world where patent office DID check for prior art.

Re:Too late to patent it - only in Europe (1)

robindmorris (682328) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222560)

This is true only in Europe. In Europe, any publication prior to patent filing is not allowed.

In the USA, you have a year after publication to file for a patent. Assuming it was you who published it in the first place.

Different countries, different rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222371)

IANAL but this is my understanding: If you show something, not in confidence, before filing for a patent, you cannot patent in Europe due to the absolute novelty rule. In the US, you have one year to file a patent. Can anyone confirm this and give the rule for other regions?

Re:You don't need to open-source it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222447)

A patent only gives you the right to sue someone who infringes on your patent. Deepest pockets win. Better to put in the public domain so that no one can grab it and claim ownership.....

Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222345)

Sometimes you wish you could just mod an entire story down.

freaking... (-1)

ahknight (128958) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222349)

awesome. iWant that.

interesting (4, Interesting)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222353)

A friend of mine did something similar for a project using IR sensors. In that case, he had a break in the beam trigger a sample, so he could have a LASER HARP

Re:interesting (1)

naer_dinsul (784040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222413)

Uhm... Actually, they have just such a device at COSI [cosi.org] .

Sure, it's something of a triviality, but kinda neat nonetheless...

By the way, I highly recomend COSI if you're ever in the area. It's a great place to teach kids about engineering, science, and the like...

[Disclaimer: They couldn't pay me enough to work there every day with all those anoying little kids though]

Re:interesting (1)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222583)

If for some reason you end up in Toledo, OH, don't forget: http://www.cositoledo.org/ [cositoledo.org]

Re:interesting (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222458)

in case someone wants to see the "big" stage version of this used by JM Jarre. [manuel-schulz.com]

Re:interesting (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222545)

Yeah, but he just mimes. Hairy, too.

Re:interesting (4, Interesting)

shaka (13165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222460)

I went to a show here in Sweden a couple of months ago. It was 5 guys who were all awesome drummers. They made music using glasses, bowls of water, and different drums and rhythmic instruments.

Anyway, they had this great setup with basically what you are describing, except that the samples were controlled by some 10-15 laser beams that shot right out from the back of the stage. When you broke a beam, a sample started or stopped. They could control it either by having the sample playing while the beam was broken, or start/stop the sample by quickly breaking the beam and "let it through" again.

It made for an extremely good show.

They also had a giant kind of a marimba [wikipedia.org] , that was perhaps 8 meters tall and 15 meters wide, with two guys standing by the ceiling and playing.

The last number of the show was all 5 guys playing in sync with Gene Krupa (perhaps the greatest drummer ever) showing him doing the number on a projector at the back of the stage.

All in all, a great show.

Re:interesting (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222485)

A friend of mine did something similar for a project using IR sensors. In that case, he had a break in the beam trigger a sample, so he could have a LASER HARP

Well, that's pretty cool, but I doubt it would wow the crowds at a Jean-Michel Jarre light show. I thought the whole point of a laser-harp was that you could *see* the beams.

On the other hand....
"Man, Jarre's new stuff really sucks!"
"I don't think he's actually playing anything; he looks like he's warming up his hands on the laser harp"

BTW, if it's a genuine IR *laser* harp, did he get the lasers from some old CD players?

Re:interesting (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222687)

no, we got the lasers and sensors from a catalog. we had a $15 allowance per project for parts.

Re: interesting (1)

gidds (56397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222514)

's nothing new. I helped a friend build a working laser harp back when I was at school (in the late '80s).

We bought a helium-neon laser (this was when they were new), used an array of microscope slides to split the beam into 8, set up a large frame with 8 optical sensors mounted at the top, lined it all up, and fed the signals into a BBC Micro's parallel port, which then triggered a Music 500 synth module.

It wasn't terribly bright, and we had to use a smoke machine to make it more visible, but it worked. (Which is more than JMJ's later ones did!)

Happy days...

Dimension Beam (1)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223328)

Well, that wouldn't be a LASER harp, but it's certainly possible to build an infrared harp.

A company called Interactive Light (now defunct) used to sell an infrared MIDI instrument called the Dimension Beam, sometimes referred-to as the "D-Beam".

The D-Beam emitted an egg-shaped infrared field which could consist of up to three distinct regions radiating from the core outward; one could define distinct MIDI parameters for each region. I believe Roland licensed the technology for the HPD-15 HandSonic [rolandus.com] .

Needless to say that the potential uses of the D-Beam are many and varied, and it's a favorite of many high-tech artists and and experimental musicians.

Indeed, by narrowly focusing the IR beams of several devices, one could indeed construct an incredibly versatile infrared harp. One group of students created a "body harp" [templetap.com] by harnessing eight D-Beams.

Awesome (5, Interesting)

skurk (78980) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222377)

This is bloody awesome!

Now, I'm not sure that this is something your local DJ Sixpack would use, but I'm pretty sure you could turn this into a toy for children:

Imagine a record with holes you can fill with plastic pins - spin the record, and hear what you just made! It would exercise the children's sense of rythm and logic. Hell, make it a standalone unit while you're at it, and make cardridges that hold the samples. Drums, guitars, voices, bird sounds, car sounds, etc.

As for the license, it depends on what you want in return. Good karma or money? Or both?

Re:Awesome (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222398)

Yeah, giving children access to small plastic pins is a great idea......

Re:Awesome (0)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222632)

OK, OK- point taken. How about metal pins?

Re:Awesome (1)

bullsbarry (862452) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222782)

you mean something like this [hasbro.com] ?

Re:Awesome (1)

Leontes (653331) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222503)

I think your idea actually could be used for an entirely new musical instrument, it's like adding another dimension to a synthesizer, with variable speed and length. It would be a great puzzle game as well, kind of a simon says game that is analog in it's complexity. I'd also think it would be interesting to watch two people attempt to, within a limited amount of time create the best music from the same elements. Could be really neat to watch on tv in an iron chef format. The educational aspect of it is what I really groove with as well. The tangible, unimposing quality of switches and gears could create a useful environment fo potentially limitless insight.

Building on your idea (3, Interesting)

sczimme (603413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222516)


Imagine a record with holes you can fill with plastic pins - spin the record, and hear what you just made! It would exercise the children's sense of rythm and logic.

The first thing that popped into my head was that gadget/toy that consists of a rectangular frame filled with small parallel metal rods; the rods can move in Y (but not in X) to make 3-D images of objects. Often they are used to make replicas of people's faces. What the heck are they called?? Grrr.

Anyway, picture a record-like disc of these movable rods. The child can move the rods, fix them in place and then play the creation. This fits with your idea: the disc would be heavier but the rods would be captive (and thus much harder for the child to lose them)

Hell, make it a standalone unit while you're at it, and make cardridges that hold the samples. Drums, guitars, voices, bird sounds, car sounds, etc.

With a simple process for converting the audio to a sound file and a USB port for exporting the child's music. :-)

Re:Building on your idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222553)

Often they are used to make replicas of people's faces

Aah, you mean one of these [todmar.net] ?

Re:Building on your idea (1)

Sheridan (11610) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222591)

The first thing that popped into my head was that gadget/toy that consists of a rectangular frame filled with small parallel metal rods; the rods can move in Y (but not in X) to make 3-D images of objects. Often they are used to make replicas of people's faces. What the heck are they called?? Grrr.

"Zem", usually. Or am I thinking of mattresses?

Re:Awesome (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222623)

What a great idea! You don't even need electronics. Fisher-Price used to make a wind-up record player [thisoldtoy.com] where the head contained small metal prongs like a music box and the surface of the record had a little bump for each note. You could do the same with movable pins, or even rolls of punch cards, so kids could compose their own music. If you marked a stave on the punch cards it could be a good way to learn musical notation.

plastic pins (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223137)

I think your idea with plastic pins in the hole would work. If it were just coins on a flat surface, it could fly off when you spin the turntable too hard.

And good job, you just made your first contribution to a hardware GPL project!

Re:Awesome (1)

DougMackensie (79440) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223150)

They have a very simular device at the Arizona Science Museum in Phoenix.
The kids can put plastic pins in a grid (maybe 10 x 10) where the 10 verticle columns dictate the sound played, and the 10 horizontal rows dictate when to play the sound. In the exhibit, you drag your 10 x 10 grid across the optical pickup, and you can get many different songs. They have simple song sheets (mary had a little lamb), for kids to use for an example.

Fun idea! (3, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222392)

One suggested improvement: have the reflectivity control some variable (like pitch). small/dark/further away reflector will give you a low note, and a large/bright/close one will give you a high note.

Dude (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222395)

Drugs are bad, mmmmkay!

No really, this is very cool, but I mean, not very useful (IMHO)

Call me again when you have an IR LED Record player (not CD, Record, turntable)

Whats special here? (1)

sellin'papes (875203) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222396)

In essence it is simply another way of writing music, and although the concept is cool, I'm not sure how it would be useful beyond other music composition software that currently exists. Any suggestions?

No, you shut up! (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222566)

Shut up, Sir!

It's cool hardware hack. Why it should be useful?

Re:Whats special here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222897)

Don't feel bad about not getting this. I don't get what is special about this either. So he built a hardware hack. Big deal. This reminds me of nothing more than just a light driven music box. You know the ones that spin and make a tuned metal rod flip and play music?
Ok, so this one uses infared. OOoooo. I thought that was an 80's buzz word.
And for a guy who built this himself, and posted it here himself, he sure is proud of himself.
An Audio Sampler Rube Goldberg Would Love

Here is an audio sampler I made with 4 IR LEDs and 4 IR sensors.

Re:Whats special here? (1)

nappingcracker (700750) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222989)

The great thing about this is that it is a killer interface to an analog sequencer (triggering digital events). Sure there are other methods for sequencing beats, but this combines the best of a sequencer and a turntable.

Many DJs use sequencers/drum machines, this allows them to add the versatility of the table to the sequence, scratch, tweak the speed with the tables pitch control, doubletime instantly -- all things that can be done with computer sequencers, but now with the analog variations that come with a mechanical device. The slight variations add a more "lively" "feel" to a sound that would otherwise be precicely repetative.

All of this is really fluff compared to having an intuitive interface to sequence beats. This would allow (for me at least) to understand the pattern much more quickly, and change accordingly. Throw in some mad wheels of steel skill, and you now have the greatest sequencer input interface ever.

A bit of background (4, Informative)

Cougem (734635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222397)

Rube Goldberg's inventions [rube-goldberg.com]

Re:A bit of background (2, Informative)

mr fog (716564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222490)

From the British side of things, it's also worth checking out W. Heath Robinson [wikipedia.org] 's work. In the UK, one look at a machine like that might make you say "that looks a bit heath-robinson".

Ask and you shall receive... (5, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222410)

Everything you ever wanted to know about open source licenses [opensource.org] and more!

Remember, anything you read here about open source licensing is only an opinion. Educate yourself!

Numba 1 (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222411)

Maybe you can sell one to Super [talonse.com] Greg [zmax.org] .

Imagine.......... (-1, Offtopic)

Alibloke (838866) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222437)

Imagine a Beowolf clu...... oh wait.

Re:Imagine.......... (1)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223193)

Can't afford all these coins.

Creative Commons (2, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222453)

I don't know any licenses specifically designed with hardware in mind, but why not use one of the Creative Commons licenses?

How exactly is this a sampler? (5, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222463)

I'd describe this as a sequencer, not a sampler.

Re:How exactly is this a sampler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222890)

Not even a sequencer, it is a controller, where is the coin doing any sampling? Or even so, playing a sequence?

I hate to say it, but this is just stupid. I mean, at least the people that made the hamster synth did something novel. :)

Re:How exactly is this a sampler? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222980)

You'd be suprised just how much of the stuff posted to Slashdot is simply wrong. Actually, judging by your ID, perhaps you wouldn't.

Definately (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223002)

You'd think someone who can whip something like this together (although quite simple) would at least call it something appropriate. From reading the submission I was wondering how he had the IR pairs digitizing (no mention of DACs anywhere) to somehow make audio from coins, and why you'd want the coins to trigger events.

This isn't sampling at all. Sampling would be capturing the signal at a specific [sampling] rate (often in analog form), like sound cards use DACs to capture sound at 44.1 or 48KHz for example. He's just polling sensors and playing a sound when something is reflecting. It's trivial enough that I don't think it even deserves the name of sequencer either. Heck, the PLC emulator i had written in TP7+asm over 10 years ago was a lot more involved than something like this (something one could code in a few hours, the "only" hard part being programming the PIT and int handlers directly). This isn't much more than a "hello world" program, there's APIs to play sounds and libs (and lots of sample code) to check signals like this.

That'd make a nice submission to a page like epanorama.net or perhaps a quick and easy project for people being thought electronics and the basics of programming. There's no way I'd bother with licensing issues and all that for something so ridiculously trivial. I could code something like this faster...

Re:How exactly is this a sampler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223276)

Thank you. Aaaargh.
Cool toy anyway.

Reminds of Alesis's products (1)

tulimulta (769091) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222464)

This is a bit like Alesis AirFX [alesis.com] or AirSynth [harmony-central.com] , I guess. Nothing groundbreaking (airwavering) here.

hardware "license" (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222482)

I bet you didn't already apply for a patent? then you just published it(making it unpatentable, even by you) and made the idea free for all to use.

Re:hardware "license" (5, Informative)

robindmorris (682328) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222547)

This is true only in Europe. In Europe, any publication prior to patent filing is not allowed.

In the USA, you have a year after publication to file for a patent.

The first call you make... (1, Funny)

IdJit (78604) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222486)

should be to Hasbro! This would be a killer toy!

WARNING: Do not look directly into LED sensors. Eye injury may occur. Contains small circular parts that can cause choking. Not intended for children under 8.

Re:The first call you make... (1)

Wubby (56755) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222843)

That was the 1st thing I thought... Do it... Do it NOW before one of the millions of unscrupulious Slashdotters does it first.

Man, I could play with that for HOURS.

Its neat but... (2, Funny)

RattRigg (4253) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222524)

Its neat but its going to be a little cumbersome in the phone booth.

Finally, a midi guitar that doesn't suck (2, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222576)

You could finally have more than one sensor in between frets on a guitar, so that MIDI pitch bends and such sound realistic. You'd have to wear a shiny glove to play it, but that could be cool, so long as it's not sequened. Of course, I officially copyright this idea as of..... now.

Brilliant... (1)

Phil John (576633) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222798)

...I'll just phrase that in legalese and patent it..hehe ;o)

Re:Finally, a midi guitar that doesn't suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223034)

Most midi guitars don't have 'sensors in between frets'.

I believe the Ztar does, but thats not a guitar, its a guitarlike interface.

The one I've used has optical pickups on the individual strings to pick up on the frequency -- as such, bends weren't all that difficult.

The difficult parts were the synthesis programming to get things sounding correct -- this isn't hard if you are using synthesis that can react expressively...most really only react to a few performance triggers. There are a few realtime synthesis models that sound GREAT for guitar these days...but then again, the best skip midi altogether and do it with custom interfaces (i.e., strip the sound to its component sines and then resynthesize from there -- no need to send pitch and velocity through 'unexpressive' midi if you have the basis of the sound right there).

As for patents, I have one that is being worked of for something in this vein...there are a few aspects of this technology that haven't been addressed that are alright for acoustic sounds, but suck for anything else. Mostly going for the patent to prevent BIG companies from taking it and hope that it can be licensed to noncommercial applications for free (unless someone like Line6 or otherwise decides to buy me out, in which case I'll throw my personal beliefs to the wind).

pitch bends (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223107)

If you play the guitar, you'd know that pitch bend is achieved by bending the string, increasing the tension. Havin a sensor for each string between every frets of a guitar only gives you the notes that you played. And let's hope if you wear a shiny glove, it doesn't pick up your palm as notes.

Yeah, copyright your idea, whatever ...

an air guitar with a sound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223234)

The freedom of expression of an air guitar:
http://www.tml.hut.fi/~tmakipat/pubs/pape r117.pdf

After all, best tools are simple but versatile.

Total Misrepresentation of a Rube Goldberg Concept (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12222577)

This device is simple. If you had a quarter dispensed by a complex pathway, say using wires, traps, egg timers, cats yowling after having their tails smashed, etc., THEN you would be approaching Rube Goldberg territory.

The background sample you can hear in the 2nd vid (0, Offtopic)

HawkingMattress (588824) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222598)

Awfully sounds like the sound of a duck being sodomized, played backward.
(don't ask...)

Has anyone here... (1)

absurdist (758409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222869)

...ever bothered to visit even a small science museum?

Because this type of device, using IR beam sensors, reflective IR sensors, or even frickin' visible laser beams (sorry, no sharks though) is in use in probably half the science museums around the world.

Neat hack? Sure. Original? Not in the slightest. I can say that one from personal experience, having designed and built several that are currently in use in museums here in the US.

Re:Has anyone here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223097)

Yep. Absolutely trivial...

So... (2, Interesting)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12222932)

It's basically 4 switches that signal a program to play different soundtracks.

What would be interesting if it wasn't all digital signal, and he threw in an A/D converter so he could detect the IR light brightness, so a dull coin would produce a different sound than a nice and shiny coin... so you have more combinations.

Just having 4 on/off signals isn't that impressive right now, but it does have potential (of course, after a while you'd probably want to migrate to the serial port for speed and complexity).

Easily amused... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223009)

Isn't this the high tech equivalant of putting baseball cards in the spokes of your bicycle and then being amazed how they sound different depending on how fast you go.

Get a life... (2, Funny)

menace3society (768451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223094)

I'd also like to make the project open-source (or whatever applies to hardware) but know nothing about licenses for this.

News flash: not every piece of freely available information has to be open-source! If you want others to be be able to use/improve your idea, publish the technical specifications and tell (clearly) how you did it. If you don't, don't tell anyone about it and maybe file a patent. It's that simple.

Open source licenses for hardware.... now I've heard everything.

Creative Commons? (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223108)

Would not one (or more) of the Creative Commons licenses [creativecommons.org] possibly work? Such as Share Alike + Noncommercial?

Thought of something similar (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223125)

I had a thought to something along these lines, but what I wanted was to put the unit in the rain and let the rain falling through the beam makes the noise. With a lot of work, I suppose you could even do different notes by extending the length of the beam, giving more opportunities for the rain to hit it.

One more thing on the list...

Surround a stage with laser beams and dance... (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223207)

In fact, surround the danger with a 3D grid and s/he can dance up an orchestra with gestural tone 'shaping'. (Idea adapted from one by Spider Robinson's wife Jean.)

Optigan anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223287)

She beat you by 55 years (2, Informative)

ajnsue (773317) | more than 9 years ago | (#12223308)

Great story about Daphne Oram of the BBC RadioPhonics laboratory. She came up with a similarly inspired musical-thingy in the late 50's. Albeit entirely analog (analogue?) http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/machines/oramics /

I'm shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12223319)

A Timothy article without an affiliate link!
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