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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

tag: gadget

A Hat for Social Distancing

The Corona Hat from the thrifty and ingenius Håkan Lidbo

The sounds of footsteps, birdsong, and occasional beeps accompany Håkan Lidbo as he walks around Stockholm, Sweden, in this video he posted on May 31. The beeps aren’t a soundtrack, any more than are the other heard elements. The beeps are the result of proximity alerts courtesy of the Corona Hat he’s seen wearing. The hat, Lidbo’s own invention, looks like what might have happened had Devo been given control of the CDC back in January. Costing less than 20 euros, it’s constructed from a parking sensors and a globe. Lidbo has a very specific recommendation for powering it: “rechargeable robot vacuum cleaner batteries.” He notes in the accompanying explanatory text that Sweden has not been enforcing lockdown. The hat appears to be his informed precaution.

Major thanks to Michael Calore of Wired for drawing my attention to the video. I’m sad to say I lost track of Lidbo for more than a decade. According to the disquiet.com archive search, I first wrote about his music back in early 2004, but haven’t since mid-2009. According to the massive navigation at his own website, he’s been up to an enormous amount in the intervening years. Plenty to dig into.

More on the Corona Hat at hakanlidbo.com/coronahat. Video originally posted at youtube.com. Moe from Lidbo at hakanlidbo.com.

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Behind the Machine

Lost in the wires

There haven’t been any Buddha Machine Variations in a few days, but there’s been a lot of activity, some of it futile (thus far), but progress is being made. This is a cable intended to connect the ER-301 module to a 16n faderbank via i2c, a nearly 40-year-old data transfer system (see wikipedia.org). I use the word “intended” because so far the connection is befuddling me.

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Walk Away

Without losing the functionality

Customary rear view of printed circuit board before the device returns to the generous pool of second-hand synthesizer modules. This is the Monome Walk (Monome being the manufacturer, Walk the module), so named because it lets you attach two foot pedals to send triggers and the like. It’s a great module, but I got two smaller modules that accomplish much of what it is useful for, and it’s time for a change.

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Face Lift

Face plate, that is

This isn’t an ornamental choice. The black face plate will allow me to put the silver-faced module horizontal (rather than vertical) into a new, small modular synthesizer case (the one seen in the video I posted two days ago).

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Time with the Mux

Up and away

This is the rear of another module I’ve enjoyed but am putting back into the pool. It’s the Befaco Muxlicer, and in many ways it did exactly what I wanted, sorting through variations, treating disparate elements as equals. But I’m going to try some other approaches to the same end, and see what comes of it. I may end up with one of these again down the road, but for the time being I’m keeping my setup fairly compact. Before sending it off, I wanted to capture its beautiful printed circuit board.

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