Mat Janson Blanchet's academic works

Prototype finalized for presentation

Posted on November 12, 2017

Advanced Practices in Video, Performance and Electronic Arts

This past week was spent finalizing the prototype so that it can be presented for critiques next week.

As seen in the video above, the prototype currently has a hard time rotating, as the tension of any wound string gauge is too big. I tested with three different gauges, sadly with the same behavior where the motor is not strong enough to rotate. That probably means I will have to create bigger gears for the final version of the piece.

In the meantime, the prototype seems to work fine with strings around which no other material is coiled. I bought the thinnest strings possible for the presentation, in the hopes that the tension of strings with a smaller gauge will not overpower the motor.

Gesture Sensor

Last summer, I was working on a new version of Sound Pez, which would make use of either the ZX Gesture sensor (combined with its own Arduino), or the Leap Motion. As I am thinking of making the cabinet reactive to its audience, I thought it would be a good idea to leverage those sensors for the presentation of the prototype.

In all honesty, I prefer the ZX sensor, since the Leap Motion is processor-intensive and not that flexible. While I was developing, I had a hard time setting communication between two Arduini—the one in the prototype, and the one onto which the sensor is connected—so I went back to use the Leap Motion. That way, I could at least present properly, rather than having to use my computer keyboard.

At the last minute, I figured out that I had named a variable wrong. Once that was fixed, I was able to put the Leap Motion aside and use the ZX sensor.

The sources for the prototype are now available on the Github repository.

Lasercutting ZX Sensor Box

It may seem like much of that work with the sensor is overkill, but I do want the presentation to keep some sort of visual uniformity. I went to EchoFab to cut a mini wooden box that will house the Arduino and the sensor.

Their technician mentioned MakerCase, an online tool to create diagrams to cut boxes. This will save me so much time, as I was drawing all those shapes in Illustrator manually!

Sadly, I still miscalculated the dimensions of the box and the Arduino, and I ended up with an unusable box…

Luckily I do have an appointment with Concordia’s Digital FabLab the morning before the presentation to lasercut a correct version of the box. It’s cutting it close, but I am confident it will be done.


Continuing with my logic of using the visual language of instruments, electric guitars, and related equipment to create visual arts, I was thinking of creating a small plaque to identify the works.

Roland JC-120 Plaque

I originally wanted to have one for the prototype, but the time needed to research the material and fabrication made that impossible.

Annodized Aluminum Sample

As I was discussing this with EchoFab’s tech, he showed me a sample of anodized aluminum, which could be used exactly like I want: the black would be removed when etched by the laser, revealing the silvery surface. I will look into this during the production of the cabinet.


Kinetic Cabinet Prototype Poster

I sketched quite a few elements as I was building the prototype. I thought it would be interesting to print a poster that resembles patents posters. This will also be displayed during the prototype presentation.

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