Beatwalker – Updates

Beatwalker is coming along swimmingly!

The synth shield, the Fluxamasynth, has worked quite well. There’s been a learning curve for coding music with it, and the delay function to incorporate beats was a large hurdle as it was interfering with other processes, but I have the individual elements working and now I just need to refine!

What I have:

- I’ve hacked a pedometer to do the step counting on my behalf. I spent lots of time trying to calibrate my accelerometer to count the steps, but it was farther off than the mostly accurate pedometer.

- Inside Arduino, I calculate beats per minute (bpm), and then figure out what that equates to as far as the ‘delay’ in Arduino lingo…the delay in between every beat. If it were 60 beat per minute, for example, it would mean a delay of 1000.

- The synth shield then plays back a song I’ve written at that tempo. It re-adjusts every 8 beats, based on the tempo of the 8 beats before that. I’m probably going to speed that up to every 4 beats, and add exceptions (for instance, if the steps suddenly slow down completely).

- A magnetometer constantly measures the user’s ‘heading’, measured between 1-360 (for 360 degrees). If you turn left or right more than 75 degrees at once, a new instrument is introduced.

- I’m adding a switch to turn it on to begin with, and a potentiometer to control volume.

- After messing around with the Mindwave, I opted against using an EEG sensor. For what I was going to be able to get out of it (one variable that’s sometimes unclear), it was going to be a lot of time and costs for something that I wasn’t sure if it was going to┬áreally add much to the experience. I would rather add as much variety with the variables I have (steps and direction) rather than adding another one and a whole different set of hurdles needing to get that measurement from the users forehead.

The song is at its infancy, a fairly standard song in the key of ‘C’ right now. I needed to write something to just test everything. Now that I have variables working, I can write something a little bit more interesting to listen to.

The presentation also needs work. I’ve ordered some fanny packs from Amazon that should be here soon, and purchased an enclosure to put in it. I’m going to put a ‘Beatwalker’ logo on the side of the Fanny pack, and sew a loop to hold the pedometer in the ideal place for most accurate step counting.

Here is a video of me using a potentiometer to adjust the tempo of a song, when I was first learning how to control music through the Fluxamasynth:

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And here’s one listening to my preliminary song. The step counter works but it’s hard to demo sitting down, so this just shows that when you change the direction of the magnetometer, a new instrument (the off beat claves) enters.

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It’s coming together, and I’ll have something that will be interesting and hopefully fun to play with by December 11th!


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