Tuesday 15th March – pm

March 15th, 2016

sonickayaking1 So we spend the morning on or listening to the water and return to the lab for afternoon discussions, coding, sensor and sonification action. Sonic Kayaking is fun. And so different to sonic cycling.

  1. There is no defined route. The kayaker has a relatively open space.
  2. The sensation of being on water has little resemblance to being on a bike on a road in a city or field.
  3. Synthetically made sound or music seems superfluous, even destructive to the experience of being on water.

We discuss how we can use any gathered sensor data. Live, direct listening to water, it was agreed, is an essential ingredient. So a simple, direct and maybe literal use of data to create any additional audio layer or punctuation could be used to start with. For example, we found that there was a rise of 1˚C across the estuary which could be translated into a rise in pitch?

What data is changing fast enough in these waters to use and more importantly, what data would be useful for sonic kayakers to gather ? Turbidity was proposed as it is also a product of tides as well as run off from fields with huge consequences. We even considered the idea of the sonic kayak being part of a much larger scientific project with its role being one of gathering turbidity data. This data could be mapped and stored online so that potenital paddlers could see where needed mapping next.


Tuesday 15th March – am

March 15th, 2016

sonickayakhacklabbegins The variety of skills and knowledge amongst the people gathered is inspiring as here we have immediate access to resources that can respond rather than internet trawled figures or opinions. Amber Griffiths, FoAM gets the ball rolling, the sonic kayak concept is introduced, the sonic bike history told and the researchers gathered propose ideas for action. We can move fast. Whilst Dave waterproofs the bike kit onto the kayaks, I set up hydrophones for listening on the jetty. Most people haven’t listened to underwater sound before and it’s delightful.waterproofingkitlisteningunderwater

Monday 14th March

March 14th, 2016

headingwest1Heading west with marine researcher Dr Kirsty Kemp for our Sonic Kayak open hacklab with FoAM Kernow. Excellent to be finally getting going on this. Sonic cycling is not so appealing in Kernow (Cornwall) as it’s pretty hilly, so when Dave Griffiths(sonic bike coder) and I had talked of the possibility of sonic riding in Cornwall where he is based, he came back with the sonic kayak idea. In a nutshell, lets waterproof up the sonic bike system and put it on water. Many months and discussions later and here we are. Except now the project has considerably evolved.

The Sonic Kayak will be a musical instrument with which to investigate nature. The kayaks will be rigged with underwater environmental sensors to generate live music from the marine world, providing the paddler with an extra dimension of senses with which to explore the underwater climate whilst also enabling citizens to gather important climate/environmental data.

Ambitious. On arrival we go straight to collect donated kayaks and plan tomorrow’s lab further. There will be 12 of us, with 7 being marine scientists. We also have the use of a professional temperature sensor as well as several of our own. Dave has made Pd patches that will be linked to different zones he has mapped out on the water. The FoAM lab sits right on the Penryn estuary at Falmouth. The weather forecast is good.


Saturday 12th March

March 12th, 2016

sonicbiketoKayakboxno2So here we have a sonic bike kit box v.3 with the new power convertor built and installed into this IP65 box which is pretty waterproof when its lid is screwed in place. Raspberry Pi2 top left, GPS receiver bottom right, lipo battery packed in underneath. It can be screwed onto the frame of a bike or strapped across a kayak. We’ve made it now so that it can be tested with the Sonic Kayak hacklab with FoAM Kernow next week and come to Berlin with me in April. minirig speakers sit in the frame made for sonic trike. Not sure that this will be accurate fit for kayak or whether a frame will be necessary. Also the minirigs will need to be waterproofed (wrapped in plastic at this stage..). however, its a solid piece of kit to work with plus it functions. Shocking though how long this small convertor took to build then pack in the box inc necessary holes for cables and on/off switch. 8 hours. And that was continuous labour.

Friday 11th March

March 11th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 15.49.03I’m in Bristol to present Finding Song Home at RESEO Digital Keys conference. We’re considering how and whether technology can enable the making of new work that is accessible to wider audiences of whatever age, ability, demagogue or location. Many of the participants are from the big European opera houses and an introduction to sound and music or a certain kind of opera for solo audience members gliding through a city’s moving soundscape via bicycle they tell me is amazing, refreshing, inspiring. Oded Ben-Horin from the Global Science Opera is particularly intrigued with the concept of map as score. Good discussions later. Good to meet a very different musical crowd. What different ways and audiences they work with. Onwards.

Wednesday 9th March

March 9th, 2016

raylabsonicbikeI’m back at raylab to learn about and make a power convertor for the latest BRI small sonic bike kit box (v3). We’re using lipo batteries but we still need to convert their 11.1V to 5V to run the Raspberry Pi2. This conversion is more complicated than the lead acid battery convertors used so far as they don’t handle a so-called “deep discharge” well. This means a more advanced power convertor that will shut off the battery when it reaches a certain voltage.  Also, we need to consider how to charge the lipos, e.g. should they remain inside the box and are charged thru a connector? Or do you take them out and use an off-the-shelf charger? Alexei has many answers to these things and would prefer to build it rather than buy an off the shelf module which is why I’m here. Good to see it from the guts up. However, there are several parts involved and much online choice, each one needing careful tech study. It turns into a six hour shopping extravaganza (Yes Farnells site also shuts down for maintenance at the point of purchase). I had no idea this would be so complicated or take so long..

Memories of our 1st sonic bike adventures, Marvelo Project 2008 come flooding back.  This was where we made them.

Monday 29th February

February 29th, 2016

pdweekend2Monday leaps into the extra day of Feb post inspiring workshop weekend with Andy Farnell and a growing posse of bicrophonic activists. With our wide range of skills we used potentiometers, buttons, accelerometers plus a servo motor to generate data whose ranges we crunched mathematically to make some meaningful sounds and more importantly understanding plus further ideas. Even better is that it was voted by close on Sunday that we would all continue but focus on applying these ideas to the sonic bikes. ( we’re using Pure data and Arduino..).

Thursday 25th February

February 25th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 13.48.25 Our 2nd Pd workshop hosted by the BRI, this time getting down with data from sensors is happening this Saturday already. DETAILS and booking.

1 place still remains…Working with Andy Farnell, so an opportunity not to be missed…

Tuesday 23rd February

February 23rd, 2016

animalsrideoonline At the same time as deciding to cycle to Paris for #COP21 last year, I proposed to the #bicrophonic artists that we make a sonic bike ride to highlight the Climate March in London,  November 29th 2015. ‘Animals March’ was the result. A video documenting the ride is now online. Go check!

Saturday February 6th

February 6th, 2016

Pdworkshop2 We’re continuing micro controller adventures in #bicrophonics with Martin Zeilinger directing an introductory workshop to Arduinos. Having known of, collaborated with and held these gadgets over the years, of course it’s excellent to finally get down with them. The participants are all bicrophonic participants from Pd workshop no.1 and we’re enjoying the hands on physical connections to making things beep and parp fast. Also interesting is that Martin is from Vienna and years ago used to take buses and trains to come to those solo violin driven gigs back in those snowy old 90’s.  Nice connections.