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)

Drum Pads



Four drum pads ready to go.

All made of old mate­rial found in the Alt/Lab ins­tal­la­ti­ons, and a very spe­cial big thankxxx for Mónica who brought the casings (we are going back to that in a moment) for the drum pads.

So the idea was to make drum pads that we could hook up to a sound card(or wha­te­ver) and them make sweet music, this is a very nice com­bi­na­tion between pie­zo­e­lec­tric com­po­nents and a few layers of some absor­bent sound  mate­rial like rub­ber or cork foil (that’s what we use because there was nothing more) and a piece of alu­mi­num foil for a gre­a­ter drum area .

We use an old can (20l) of paint, four pie­zo­e­lec­tric found in elec­tro­nic junk like old modems and old telepho­nes, wire for con­nec­ting the pie­zos, cork foil for insu­la­tion the drum pad area and Mónica sup­ply the casings (square rub­ber cd´s stands), and glue for put­ting everything nice and tight .

First we cut a piece of the can (cir­cu­lar about 10cm radius)and we glued the piezo into it, then we dril­led one hole into the rub­ber casing for the wires to came out, them we cut two square cork foil parts (the first in the bot­tom of the casing and the other for the top) a bit of glue and that’s it drum pads ready to rock.

Now we got some audio coming out of the pads but thats just boring because its always the same and we want to go further like trans­for­ming audio into midi mes­sa­ges, and we found the right tool for it, its cal­led  “KTDrum­Trig­ger” and he trans­forms the audio sig­nal into midi notes, we can use this midi notes inside a sequen­cer pro­gram to con­trol any kind of ins­tru­ment (either VSTI or some other stuff), in our case we use the drum pads to con­trol “Bat­tery” and thats it ins­tant fun.

There are some other links and some other ideas for drum pads. This “one“uses ardu­nio as a source for the imput sig­nal.