Granular synth/playback device controlled by an accelerometer|Need HELP!

Hello, people of arduino knowledge!

I am a multimedia artist, working on my MA thesis in new media art titled Anthropocene through Sound Synthesis. The plan is to make 8 granular synths/playback devices (or FM or any other option; preferably the easiest to make a sound glitch) controlled by an accelerometer.


The installation will consist of 8 vials hanging on a thread from the ceiling, each loaded with one small arduino, one accelerometer, one RGB LED and covered with a lid turned into a speaker. Each arduino is representing a cell sample - kept frozen in the vials by the preservation institutions - of one endangered animal species, of which the sound sample is playing through the speaker. The vials hanging on a thread metaphorize how close these animals are to extinction.

Every spectator will be able to interact with these vials by bringing them closer to their ears to listen; only that as they do so, the accelerometer will trigger the granular synthesis and the sound samples will start to glitch, the LED turns red and blinks, signalizing the nearing end of species. As the spectator puts the vials back to the original spot, the vials in time regenerate, the LED turns back to green, and the sound samples start playing normal once again; the ecosystem is balanced for another day.

Underneath the hanging vials, there will be a pile of broken or molten ones alongside with random computer chips, as a reminder of many animal species that have already gone extinct since the start of the Anthropocene, and if we don't stop and learn how to coexist with the natural world, the remaining ones alive will die out too

:thinking: QUESTION TIME:

1.) What arduino board that is powerful and small enough to fit in a vial would you recommend me to use?
2.) Any concerns, different ideas with the same result? Please do tell!

P.S: I am a n00b with programming and electronics, but I do have a programmer that will help me with the code. So if you could explain this in the simplest way possible, I would be very grateful!

:smiley: Thank you for the information!

Tim Kropivšek

You at least need the following

  • capable CPU
  • sound storage
  • small amplifier and speaker
  • accelerometer (maybe a vibration sensor will suffice)
  • and probably a custom PCB to fit all of the above in a small form factor
1 Like

I am not sure because I have no idea what size these vials are. The Arduino Nano BLE sense is the narrowest I know of, so look up the size of that one.

It also has a built in accelerometer, and enough memory for a buffer to hold the sample of a few seconds. What I would do is to add an SD card and have several sounds pre glitched and change what you are playing according to how much activity there is on the accelerometer. You can get much longer sounds that way.