Some noob questions :D

Hello everyone!

I am a game developer, programmer, and musician. I stumbled on this site when I had the idea of fusing my programming and music, and had a few questions I was wondering you could answer

So I am more on the software side of things, but I am able to decipher (most of) the circuit diagrams presented. However, when it comes to what I can connect to them I am at a loss

The first question I have is this. I want to connect a series of led lights to a costume. I wish to use one of these Arduino boards to program it to react to particular inputs. So first thing would be a question regarding outputting and powering these lights...

Say I want each color strand to be controlled separately, would there be a way to connect the Arduino unit to perhaps a basic on/off power switch that powers all the lights of that color? What type of lights should I purchase for such a thing(keep in mind I would also like control of the intensity of the lights, so I imagine the simple on/off wouldn't work). Also regarding the safety of this, I would imagine it would be a good idea to make the costume relatively think and something non-conductive haha. Last thing I'd want is a performer getting electrocuted :P

Second question is this, would there be a way to receive the data of say the output level of a standard 1/4" guitar cable? For example, say I am only interested in the output level.

Third question, for tracking motion is there a preferred (affordable) sensor for this? I would simply need it to begin adding and subtracting from x, y and z variables once activated (the activation point would be the "center")

I hope that wasn't too much. I was just very excited to find this device and am interesting in understanding what it is and isn't capable of doing. Thanks so much everyone. I'm sure I'll be on these forums quite a bit. Seems a whole new hobby has opened up for me tonight :)

are you gone build a guitar body ? yes you can switch the LED or lights you want ,, yes you can use a wii motion or gyro/compass/accelmeter when you move they wil corspondent ! yes also audio input is there ,, so you play your guitar funky with a daft punk costume. sounds cool !! :grin:

i want to know what you are building ? equelizer costume ?

You write "costume", I think "Adafruit". http://www.adafruit.com/ Look at the blog, search for "wearable", view some videos. It's a whole world of wearable electronics over there.

The Arduino boards are not very good with audio, and you need extra hardware to amplifiy the guitar signal, but it is possible (although not very good without extra hardware). Tracking a position is very hard, but a motion sensor is no problem. An accelerator and gyro sensor costs maybe 3 dollars.

i imagen you playing keyboard and costume and i hear maimi vice ,, and the costume. starts to shine ! tu te tu tu te te te !! du du du de da !! this is the sound :sunglasses:

1) LEDs Don't worry about electrocuting anyone. The voltages are quite low. There are three ways to go: PWM outputs, intelligent LEDs, or Matrix display.

PWM: The basic Arduino has six PWM/"Analog" outputs. Each one can control the brightness of a string of LEDs. You can have as many LEDs in a string as you like. For more than six channels you can add a PWM chip with 16 outputs.

Intelligent LEDs: The adafruit NeoPixel is an example of this. They are RGB LEDs that can be chained together and individually controlled so the Arduino can command each one to be any color and brightness. They are more expensive but most versatile.

Matrix Display: LEDs can be arranged in a large grid and individually controlled. This generally requires some additional hardware and because the hardware is shared the overall brightness is lower but it is a way individually control the brightness of way more than 16 channels.

2) receive the output level of a standard 1/4" guitar cable? Yes. A small amplifier (Op-Amp) and a low-pass filter will give you a voltage proportional to the amplitude of the guitar signal. The analog input pins of the Arduino can then measure the voltage.

3) Third question, for tracking motion is there a preferred (affordable) sensor for this?

Unfortunately there is no good way to track an absolute position. You can use an accelerometer to measure changes in velocity but that won't accurately tell you where you are, which direction you are currently moving or how fast. When you aren't moving relative to the Earth the accelerometer will tell you your orientation relative to gravity (which way is up). You can use a rate gyroscope to tell how fast something is rotating but it won't tell you in what direction it is facing. You can use a magnetometer/compass to tell which direction you are facing relative to the local magnetic field but the field is very weak and subject to interference from metal and electrical objects. Given all three you can usually calculate which way is up and which way you are facing but not where you are.

Dexterbot: are you gone build a guitar body ? yes you can switch the LED or lights you want ,, yes you can use a wii motion or gyro/compass/accelmeter when you move they wil corspondent ! yes also audio input is there ,, so you play your guitar funky with a daft punk costume. sounds cool !! :grin:

i want to know what you are building ? equelizer costume ?

Naw I am planning on having each instrumentalist "synced" up with their instrument. So have a variable that records onHit or onStrum, and when true it transitions the colors, and things like this

And yeah, something like that. I make quite a bit of music in this style http://youtu.be/raNDn_74hlE

And had the idea of essentially having dancers with lights that are synced up, and their movements themselves will alter the drone layers. Perhaps one will adjust the rate of the phase shifting, another will include and omit certain midi notes based on their positions, etc. Each dancer will be synced up to the variable they are modifying with their movements. So if the one controlling the phase effect makes it have a fast warbling tone, the lights will do the same.

Thank you all for the tips

So are the Adafruit wearable boards preferable to the Arduino Lilypad in some way? Or was that recommendations simply for the LED lights?

And wow, the programmable Adafruit LED lights with the RGB controls, that is amazing. Thank you

johnwasser:

3) Third question, for tracking motion is there a preferred (affordable) sensor for this?

Unfortunately there is no good way to track an absolute position. You can use an accelerometer to measure changes in velocity but that won't accurately tell you where you are, which direction you are currently moving or how fast. When you aren't moving relative to the Earth the accelerometer will tell you your orientation relative to gravity (which way is up). You can use a rate gyroscope to tell how fast something is rotating but it won't tell you in what direction it is facing. You can use a magnetometer/compass to tell which direction you are facing relative to the local magnetic field but the field is very weak and subject to interference from metal and electrical objects. Given all three you can usually calculate which way is up and which way you are facing but not where you are.

Hmm... would the combination of an accelerometer and a gyroscope work perhaps? What type of data does the accelerometer return that people here use? I am thinking if you paired the two it could be quite effective. I intend to use it on dancers hands, when they click a switch in the costume it will begin the program, and start all the float variables at 0. From there it will increment them based on received input. It does not have to be perfect motion sensing, I am more intending it to be used as turning the dancer into an instrument so the controls just need to be logical and consistent. It will be choreographed, so the movements will be nearly the same each time

Peter_n: You write "costume", I think "Adafruit". http://www.adafruit.com/ Look at the blog, search for "wearable", view some videos. It's a whole world of wearable electronics over there.

The Arduino boards are not very good with audio, and you need extra hardware to amplifiy the guitar signal, but it is possible (although not very good without extra hardware). Tracking a position is very hard, but a motion sensor is no problem. An accelerator and gyro sensor costs maybe 3 dollars.

Well the guitar signal itself will be going into an amp, but I have a true bypass stereo splitter and I wanted to have the raw output of the guitar inputting to the device, not sure what would be the best way to do this. The guitar does a lot of swells using a volume pedal and heavy delay, and I wanted to sync up all of this with the lights so as a new tone is revealed, so is the guitar player (the room will be quite dark and fogged, so I intend the audience to only be able to clearly see the musicians that are currently contributing to the sound)

Again, thank you all for the help. I can already tell from your responses that whatever this subculture I have stumbled upon is, it seems better than the vast majority of other niches.

i think this can be done easy with accel meters ,, and use a separate program wil also shift diferent modes ,, and react also on tones + movements ,, wil always give differnt effects , like a fireworks show ,, butt cooler because of music ! :o you need a breakdancer to test this project ,,LOL

i would try to lett it look like rain drops when move fast they wil blink full , when slowing down , they start sparkling like drops ,different colors and sound triggers it when you move you wil have a bizare effect for the eye ! :astonished:

wii mote arduino videos will show you what kind of movements you can expect to be sensored ,, i would use LED and you have light emiting cords also these days ,, you look like TRON ,, :smiling_imp:

did you ever seen a LEDCUBE , think about this how this is conected and works bitshifters to use a loads of led's !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mXM-oGggrM

So just curious, does anyone know of a good live software interface that would allow scripting for input to modify plugin settings for tracks? I am quite ignorant when it comes to this, brand new and really want to get into it :P

you can use firmata lib ,and firmata .net stuff ,, to build your own