First Soft Circuits Open Lab

soft circuits open lab

This Sun­day we’re hol­ding our first Soft Cir­cuits Open Lab at the Scho­ol of Fine Arts in Lis­bon (FBAUL — Facul­da­de de Belas Artes de Lis­boa). The­re is no pre­de­fi­ned struc­tu­re for the event. We will meet for the cour­se of one day with the pur­po­ses of sha­ring kno­wled­ge, expe­ri­men­ting fre­ely, advan­cing on-going pro­jects, and just having fun wor­king together. Some of the peo­ple atten­ding will be spe­ci­a­lists in elec­tro­nics and others in tex­ti­les. Bar­camp sty­le impromp­tu pre­sen­ta­ti­ons are very wel­co­me.

Altlab will pro­vi­de some basic tools such as pli­ers, scis­sors, sol­de­ring irons, iro­ning board, etc. But par­ti­ci­pants must bring all the mate­ri­als and addi­ti­o­nal equip­ment neces­sary for their own projects/experiments (inclu­ding lap­tops). Here are some sug­ges­ti­ons: any kind of fabric, nee­dles and thre­ad, yarn, t-shirts, con­duc­ti­ve and/or resis­ti­ve fabric, con­duc­ti­ve thre­ad, con­duc­ti­ve and/or resis­ti­ve yarn, knit­ting and/or cro­chet nee­dles, LEDs, coin cell bat­te­ri­es, bat­tery hol­ders, EL wire, strands of fiber optics, cop­per foil, cop­per adhe­si­ve track, alu­mi­num foil, resis­ti­ve foam, regu­lar foam, ardui­nos (lily­pad or any other kind). If you’ve never wor­ked with any of the­se mate­ri­als and don’t have them handy, come anyway, you can help some­o­ne else with their pro­ject and learn along the way.

For more infor­ma­ti­on on soft cir­cuits tech­ni­ques and mate­ri­als, check out the Soft Cir­cuits Resour­ces sec­ti­on on the open­Ma­te­ri­als wiki.

This open lab will take pla­ce on Febru­ary 21st, from 10:30 to 18:30, at the Scho­ol of Fine Arts in Lis­bon, room 307, 1st flo­or (sin­ce our own spa­ce is still under cons­truc­ti­on). All are wel­co­me, the­re is no fee nor regis­tra­ti­on, but ple­a­se do let me know if you are plan­ning on coming: catarinamota(at)audienciazero.org

Circuit Bending

Hel­lo “intre­nets” people(s)

This post today reflects a lit­tle about  what cir­cuit ben­ding and diy are.

I have many fri­ends and col­le­a­gues  asking me “-So what is cir­cuit ben­ding?”, well here goes the awser and a bit of the his­tory behind cir­cuit ben­ding.

Seems that a guy cal­led Reed Gha­za­la, was making expe­ri­ments with some synthe­si­zers, trying to get some more sounds out of the elec­tro­nic ins­tru­ments, so he deci­ded to open one and poke the guts of the beast .

He soon  finds out that the core of an elec­tro­nic ins­tru­ment its a lot of fun and this could be exci­ting dis­co­ver.

Now…have you ever heard of the Savant syn­dro­me ?  a per­son who as Savant Syn­dro­me have the abi­lity of mixing emo­ti­ons, like seeing num­bers in a wide vari­ety of colors or the alpha­bet in sha­pes and forms, the cau­se of this, its sim­ply the brain and some short fuses in some are­as, and this its exac­tly what Cir­cuit ben­ding is.

So, when Reed deci­ded to explo­re the pos­si­bi­lity of the short cir­cuit he open a big door for expe­ri­men­tal music and a new form of seeing elec­tro­nic devi­ces, the idea its sim­ply bril­li­ant, lets open some toys, synths, pedals (wha­te­ver) and lets start to take some really cool sounds out of it, and the bril­li­ant part is : you don’t need to know about elec­tro­nics or be a geek who spent all day in the gara­ge (myself inclu­ded), becau­se cir­cuit ben­ding its like a a brain in short fuse.

What you need to cir­cuit ben­ding some stuff ?  This is another ques­ti­on and an impor­tant one. Hummm lets see:

First, you will need some kind of devi­ce that pro­du­ces sound, like a toy, a dis­tor­ti­on pedal, an old synth just to name a few.

Second, this is the impor­tant part DON’T USE ANYTHING THAT CONNECTS DIRECTLY TO THE AC/DC POWER, this means DEATH, ins­te­ad use bat­te­ri­es, all kinds of bat­te­ri­es and even trans­for­mers as long you don’t tou­ch that evil 220 V you are in busi­ness .

Third, open your devi­ce and cho­o­se your method of ope­ra­ti­on, this could be done in a vari­ety of ways, you could use your fin­gers with a lit­tle of sali­va (ughhh), or two screw dri­vers con­nec­ted by an alli­ga­tor clip.

Four, explo­re and see if the devi­ce reacts to your tou­ch poking some cir­cuits, i often get some gre­at results poking the chips legs and con­nec­ting them together, fin­ding the cool points its fun so don’t give up if you don’t find something in the first 5 minu­tes.

Five, ohh the “intre­nets” yes there’s a lot in here just sear­ch a bit and you will find your­self in a brand new world, of cour­se the cir­cuit ben­ding com­mu­nity its open min­ded and fri­en­dly, so don’t be shy and ask ques­ti­ons (most of us don’t know what are doing so join the club).

Now you know were Beck, Madon­na, Mike Pat­ton and many others are get­ting they ins­pi­ra­ti­on (yeah that’s right Madon­na), the musi­cal pos­si­bi­lity are immen­se, just think  is you, who  are dis­co­ve­ring your own sounds and making it at the same time (not like a pat­ch in a synthe­si­zer ) something really new and fresh made enti­rely  by you.

So,  what is Cir­cuit Ben­ding  ?

PAPERduino’s design

This is a fully func­ti­o­nal ver­si­on of the Ardui­no. We eli­mi­na­ted the PCB and use paper and card­bo­ard as sup­port and the result is.. the PAPER­dui­no 😀

This is the the first ver­si­on of the layout design, next we will try more designs, and other mate­ri­als. You just need to print the top and the bot­tom layouts, and glue them to any kind of sup­port you want. We hope that you start making your own boards. If you do, ple­a­se sha­re your pho­tos with us, we would love to see them 😉

The­re is no USB direct con­nec­ti­on, so to pro­gram the paper­dui­no you will need some kind of FTDI cable or adap­ter. One of this pro­ducts will be fine:
FTDI cable from Ada­fruit Indus­tri­es
FTDI adap­ter from Spark­fun

Down­lo­ad PDF

Com­po­nents list:
1 x 7805 Vol­ta­ge regu­la­tor
2 x LEDs (dif­fe­rent colors)
2 x 560 Ohm resis­tors (betwe­en 220oHm and 1K)
1 x 10k Ohm resis­tor
2 x 100 uF capa­ci­tors
1x 16 MHz clock crys­tal
2 x 22 pF capa­ci­tors
1 x 0.01 uF capa­ci­tor
1 x but­ton
1 x Atmel ATMega168
1 x soc­ket 28 pin
Fema­le and Male hea­ders

Ins­truc­ti­ons:
Use a nee­dle to punc­tu­re the holes for your com­po­nents.

Don’t rush, pla­ce one com­po­nent after another and do all the sol­der work care­fully.

Fol­low the con­nec­ti­on lines.

And this should be the final look of your paper­dui­no con­nec­ti­ons.