Pyro board visualizes song’s beats with dancing flames

Idea based off Reuben’s Tube

What’s cool about the project below is the fact that not only do you get a bit of visual entertainment, you also get some learning in, too.

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Per the science video blog Veritasium, the “Pyro Board” is a demonstration of what happens when sound waves travel through flammable gas set aflame.

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It’s all based on a Rubens’ Tube, which is basically a long tube that’s able to illustrate stationary sound waves (a.k.a.: “standing waves”). In using some songs as the source of the sound waves, the pressure variations caused by the sound waves affect the flow rate of the aforementioned gas from the holes in the pyro board. This results in not on the height of the flame being adjusted per the beat, but the color too, making the board an awesome visual display of a fairly simple project.

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The video runs six and a half minutes long because it goes into how everything works on a bit more of a granular level. If you just want to see some dancing flames, head to the three and a half minute mark.

Boombotix Releases the Chronic Edition

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The Greenhouse effect

I’m happy to announce a limited edition Bot we’ve been working on since this morning over a bowl of cereal.  I would love to tell you what kind of cereal, but I totally don’t want us to get sued.  Let’s just call it ‘Raptain Runch’ and leave it at that.

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Watch kids try and figure out what a Walkman is

Funny video shows just how much technology has advanced in recent years

Ready to feel super old? Check out the clip below “Kids react to walkmans”, aka: portable cassette players, which were first introduced to the market in 1979, and turn 35 years old this year.

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Put together by the very funny “TheFineBros” team, the video runs about 7 and a half minutes long, and features children aged 6 thru 13 (so they weren’t alive in the 1990’s) as they’re interviewed about a black brick-like object that somehow plays music. It’s as much amusing as it is sad in the sense that, if you remember using these things, you suddenly realize just how old you really are.

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“I feel like I’m Indiana Jones or something,” one kid said after getting the cassette inside the device.

Hahaha . . . snifflesniffle . . . hahaha . . . sobsob.

Drummer builds bionic arm to keep on rocking

Inspirational story about musician who found solution to keep playing his favorite instrument

When aspiring drummer Jason Barnes lost his right arm two year ago, he didn’t give up on his dream of being a professional drummer. Instead, he built a crude prosthetic using springs that allowed him to keep playing his favorite instrument.

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His efforts and passion for the music got him enrolled at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, where he met Professor Gil Weinberg who realized he could build Barnes something better.

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In addition to a small robot arm that allows Barnes to accurately control a drumstick vis-à-vis the muscles in his upper arm, the prosthetic also has a second drumstick that plays autonomously. It includes a microphone and accelerometer to read Barnes’ rhythm, and it automatically starts drumming along with a complementary rhythm of its own.

Jason Barnes drumming

Barnes still needs to perfect the use of his new prosthetic, but things are working out so well so far that he will actually be performing in a concert at the Atlanta Science Festival in a few weeks, where he’ll be playing alongside some of the school’s other autonomous devices.

Video of Barnes in action below:

Play music with these gloves — no instruments required!

Student research project comes up with hands on, instruments off idea for music creation

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Cornell engineering student Ray Li came up with the pretty nifty looking gloves you see above. Referred to as the “Aura”, the hand warmers are actually wearable, electronic musical instruments. To play them, the user slips the sensor-equipped gloves on and moves them through a magnetic field. The movement itself is tracked and the hand positions are converted into MIDI signals (electronic instrument language), which are then fed into a synthesizer.

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Pitch is controlled by the user raising or lowering their hands. Spreading them apart increases volume, while closing one’s fingers muffles the sound. When the user twists his or her hands, the sound gets distorted.

Oh, and since different hand positions can be assigned to trigger various sounds in the MIDI catalogue, there’s the potential to create some pretty unique new musical compositions, as Li demonstrates in the video below.

“The goal was to create the most intuitive instrument,” Li said. “We’re trying to capture those intuitive gestures and make music.”