Music Hacking Meetup

If you told me that by the end of Women Who Code NYC’s very first Music + Wearables Workshop that I would be playing the piano with cups of water, I would think you were crazy! And then it happened…

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Stefania [l] and Nancy [r]

Once we all settled in and grabbed our share of pizza at the Hook and Loop’s NYC office, Stefania Druga and Nancy Otero gave us an introduction to Arduino, an “open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software [that’s] intended for anyone making interactive projects.” In a nutshell, you can program the Arduino microcontroller to mapping any conductive material (i.e. your skin, water,  coil tape) to render a particular sound. Here is one of my favorite examples of a guy who created a guitar out of old drum pads, some softpot ribbon potentiometers, and a sparkFun joystick shield.

Before starting the workshop, we all downloaded and installed the Arduino software. Stefania walked us through how to make the hardware version of Hello World by making an LED light blink. She hooked up an LED light to port number 12 on the Arduino board. Check out the code below:

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 10.05.20 AM

Notice that since an infinite loop is running, if you don’t have both delays after signaling the voltage level to change, the light will not change at all.

Our group started off with using Makey Makey, a much more simplified version of Arduino. The Makey Makey board can map any conductive object to act like keyboard keys such as the arrow pad, spacebar, and mouseclick.

Whoever wants to activate the Makey Makey board needs to make sure they are holding the ground wire (the negative within the battery), that way, when you touch the object that is hooked to the positive of the battery (such as a banana or a coin), the circuit will close and trigger the action. The Makey Makey site has a bunch of games and simulations made by Scratch that anyone can use to play around with.

IMG_6272-1Our group started off basic by using the Keyboard simulation by creating a keyboard out of coins.

Then we upgraded make the keyboard out of cups of water. This turned into us creating a human Tetris game. Our last feat of the night was DDR!

This was an awesome workshop and I hope they make a series out of it because this workshop was high in demand. I for one would love to play around with the Arduino board to create a synth or guitar.

Have you created any cool Arduino projects? Feel free to share/comment below!

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