» Art-a-hack 2014

Art-a-hack 2014

On July 11, 2014

In this project, Kate Sicchio and I created a performance instrument from a smart phone. The idea was to hold the device firmly to the body so that clean accelerometer data matching the torso could drive a musical performance. We had a lot of initial concepts, but to keep it achievable we settled on using a phone rather than Arduino etc, to keep things solder-free and centrally integrated.

After some initial testing we were able to get the accelerometer data flowing into Ableton and do some basic triggering and pitch bending

To create the harness we used photogrammetry to capture the body shape. Reference points are drawn to enhance 3D reconstruction, and an outline previews the placement. The plan is to build a 3D printed frame that conforms to the body and makes a stable mount for the phone.


In the modeling phase, I initially just traced out reference points, but also did extensive form studies of intricate designs. Ultimately we ended up printing only the center section for practical reasons.

The printed harness was pretty stable and the accelerometer output was fairly noise free. One major challenge was transforming the raw data in a way that was intuitive for the performer. By recording  full range of sample motions we were able to set useful ranges and connect them to parameters of the triggered sounds.

Our demo went well. Everything worked. A bit hard to control, but we’re certainly happy with what we accomplished in only 3 one-day hack sessions.

For a more complete explanation, take a look at my wrap-up presentation (12.5 minute video)


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