Sunday, April 24, 2011

Draw Your Music

Draw Your Music.. from Roopali Sood on Vimeo.

-To make a musical instrument for visually impaired and
physically disabled.
-To explore how art and music can be connected.
-The extent to which visually generated music can be taken.
-To write the notes and hear them create a harmony.
-Remembering drawings and doodles is easier then reading notes.

We wanted to make a pen using the Drawdio circuit.Drawdio creates sounds as you write. We aimed at taking it a step ahead by harmonising the sounds and thereby converting them into music with certain added attributes. Hoping to create a so called musical instrument for the visually impaired and deaf as well as for anyone and everyone.

For the visually impaired: Its easier to teach someone to draw than to read the notes. We intend the blind to use the pen to draw and if they find a certain movement is creating a pleasant sound they can repeat it to create rhythm.
For the deaf: Similarly the deaf can make patterns that can be identified by listeners and classified as music or mere collection of sounds.

Drawdio has bean a project for beginners, kids and people of almost every age. A lot of fun
with instant gratification! Essentially, its a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the
conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a fun toy
that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper.

U.S.P’s of Drawdio - Runs on a single AAA battery for many hours (even 'nearly dead' batteries
will work) Use any pencil - mechanical or plain. Sound varies as the pressure or content of graphite
and distance varies.


There seemed to be a lot of scope for expansion in terms of the way it was operated, hardware used
and the target audience. So keeping all this in mind plus the nuances of ergonomics and aesthetics we
stumbled upon this..

Different types of pens/pencils were analysed and regarded as suitable or not
so suitable to be used with the circuit. In the process wood, metal and
polystyrene were used, along with plasticine to make the moulds.

The concept went from being a pen to play with to be an instrument for the challenged. We
experimented with sensors - pressure and tilt to create a range of sounds. later the tilt sensor
was ruled out as it turned the pen into a orchestral stick. The pressure sensor will be on the outer
shell of the pen or writing instrument to multiply the range of sounds the pen will be capable of
producing. it will vary from person to person since every individual has a certain distinguished grip.

The circuit can now be integrated inside the pen/pencil along with pressure sensor to make the
device portable component instead of an assembly.

The normal pencil became a quill pencil holder with copper coiled on it for conductivity. The quill
then transformed to a vacuum formed polystyrene pen with hidden components and speakers.

For the final pre-final pen prototype we thought of making a pen/pencil or pencil holder quill with clutch mechanism for ease of use and aesthetic appeal. After all the explorations the wooden quill shaped pencil holder with metal rear seemed most feasible. Then it was vacuum formed in polystyrene to make a hollow structure for embedding the circuit, speaker and coiling the copper lace on it, so as to make it portable and durable for handling.


The drawdio circuit uses the resistance of the graphite pencil to fluctuate the output analog signal.
With a analog to digital convertor, this analog signal can be digitalized and hence be manipulated using easier programming.
The analog signal generated is hence mapped between 0 and 1024 (16 bit chip is used). The signal is captured using the serial mode of the processing language .

3 codes were developed for the music to be generated.
1) Using Minim library of processing:
Generates electronic music in the form of sine wave which can be seen visually.
2) UsingTiction:
Tiction is another generating function written using processing.
3) Mapping to tones:
The resistance as taken in through the serial port is now mapped from fixed values to different guitar generated notes.
Depending on the different programes running on the computer the music generation can be changed.

Project: ESID
Acknowledgements: Jignesh Khakhar
Bhaumik Nagar
Ujjaval Panchal
Arshad Pathan

Team Member/s: Roopali Sood, Sakshi Srivastava

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