Beat Feet at MIT Media Labs Design Innovation Workshop 2013


Hey everyone!
As the title suggests, I had attended MIT Media Labs Design Innovation workshop at PESIT Bangalore from Jan 21-Jan 25 2013. As a part of Sensor Environments track, we in a team of four, built something known as Beat Feet.

We were guided by Pragun Goyal, Masters student at MIT Media Labs and Matt Aldrich, PhD candidate at Responsive Environments group, MIT Media Labs.

This project was a joint effort of Bhargava V , Akshay Cadambi ( PESIT Bangalore ) , Rishemjit Kaur ( CSIO CSIR Chandigarh ) and me.

Ok, so what is this project about. I will let the simple slide do the talking:

MIT Media Labs Design Innovation Workshop 2013 Sensor Environment Track

MIT Media Labs Design Innovation Workshop 2013 Sensor Environment Track

Yep! So we designed a system which will allow musicians, guitarists and keyboardists to set the beats according to the music they play, without getting up from their place or even without lifting their hands off the instrument! Yes, simply by tapping foot at a constant rate. Don’t believe it? Check out this video here.

Now how did we do it? It took us a good of  2 days of brainstorming to finalize one idea which could be prototyped in two days. Components used : Force Sensitive Resistor, Arduino, Switch and Resistors. Softwares used: Serial 2 MIDI converter. Ok, so what is S2MIDI? You can read up here. It is a software which can read serial data from Arduino and convert it to MIDI and can play different musical sounds. Really cool library!

Yep, so we wrote a code on Arduino to calculate the no of taps by a musician and depending on the number of taps, we define a bar. The tempo is dependent on the no of taps you do. A few cool things about the project: You need not tap continuously to get beats, you define your tap once and the beats run in loop. We also added a small switch to switch between different sets of beats. One of them was just the base drum, other consisted of crash and drum, to give variation. This system can be made programmable, and the user can define beats as and how he likes it. Putting some more thought into it, one can really program the entire background drum set depending on the song which is being practiced, all by just tapping the foot and using a switch. Really awesome applications for this! Making it wireless is one great start.

It received a decent response at the Exhibition at the workshop. Here is a fairly undocumented Arduino code.

There is a lot to write and talk about the awesome week at the workshop. Will do that in next post! Till then, Cya!

P.S: Check out pics from Daniel’s cam here.

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8 comments

  1. […] add drum and guitar effects  using only feet gestures with the help of wearable sensors. Check the details of the project on this website and watch the video below to see it in action!   […]

  2. […] Beat Feet was concieved, designed, and prototyped in four days by a team participating in MIT Media Labs Design Innovation workshop at PESIT Bangalore. The project uses a sensor attached to the bottom of a shoe to control the tempo of MIDI drum affects. The idea is to allow musicians to add and control a background rhythm while continuing to play their instrument (presumably not a drum). […]

  3. […] musicians to add drum and guitar effects  using only feet gestures and wearable sensors. Check the details of the project on this website and watch the video below to see it in […]

  4. […] to add drum and guitar effects  using only feet gestures and wearable sensors. Check the details of the project on this website and watch the video below to see it in […]

  5. […] Beat Feet è stato progettato e realizzato lo scorso gennaio durante il MIT Media Labs Design Innovation […]

  6. […] musicians to add drum and guitar effects  using only feet gestures and wearable sensors. Check the details of the project on this website and watch the video below to see it in […]

  7. Touche. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing effort.

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