Posts Tagged ‘Diskokugel’

1,2,3 test… (1)

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Today I did the first test run with one of the soldered boards and the Arduino. After some adjusting it works but I am not quite satisfied.

On the picture below you can see the setup: 8 speakers, attached to the switching board. Between the switching board and the Arduino is a board that converts the Arduinos signals (0/+5V) to the current level used by the switchboard (+/-5V). This converter board also houses a TL072 for pre-amplification and an LM311 to detect the audio signal’s null phase. This is necessary to prevent the speakers from clicking when switched on and of. And it doesn’t work jet. Why, I’ll have jet to find out…

Speakers, switchboard and Arduino connected. To the right is a voltage divider, converting 12V to +/-6V and GND

Diskokugel Electronics

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Christian provided me with some sample circuit boards which I assembled the last days.  Christian already had soldered the smd parts in place . Considering my latest clumsy attempts with the icosahedron, this was a wise thing to do. It was still a lot of work to just get the ICs and transistors in place. Once done, I discovered a major flaw in our board design, since the connectors aren’t yet ready to cascade the things. Back to the drafting board…

However, now it’s done and I can run a test with 40 speakers!

Five boards to run tests. The smaller one is the first Christian assembled, the others are ready to be attached to the icosahedron.

Re: Diskokugel (icosahedron 2) [Updated]

Friday, April 8th, 2011

I can’t believe how much time this took. I tried to find someone to help me weld theicosahedron but whatever I tried, something always went wrong. So, finally, I did it by myself. The result is pretty ugly (compared with how it started) and I guess I’ll have to invest some money to have someone professional do this once it proves to be a working concept. Thank god I don’t rely on my soldering talent to survive…

Not pretty. But robust.


I took a part of the frame and used some acrylic compound to attach some bodies to it. I am not quite satisfied with the looks of the compound. I’ll try black hot glue the next days. Another alternative could be silicone.

Then I started to solder shims to the points where the frame will be attached to the icosahedron. Lot of work. Lot of progress.

full view from above. You can see the icosahedron inside.
From the inside you can see the chrome bodies
another full view

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Diskokugel Progress

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

My work for the Computerspielemuseum (video game museum) is done, so I started right away to work on my Diskokugel again. Theres a few updates form the last time I posted on this:

I decided to stay with the wireframe as it is, not filling the blanks in between. I think, looking into the thing is just as mindblowing as looking at it, especially because I came up with a solution for the resonating body of the speakers: chrome christmas baubles! Since it was the time of the year I found some made of plastic in just the right size to fit the speakers. Another problem solved.

Kitsch is the solution...

Secondly I sat down looking for a solution to keep the whole ball stable and to attach the electronics to. The surface of the ball has 12 “blank” spots (the centers of the pentagons of the soccer ball pattern). Here, something could be attached to connect to a support inside. So I was looking for a body with 12 corners, an icosahedron. It took me only about three ours to solder this model:

There she is

Quite beautiful, isn’t it? The plan is, to have either a shim or a nut on each corner and to connect to the “surface” via thread bars. The circuit boards will be attached to the edges, making it a kind of star floating within the ball with lots of wires leading to the surface (I will probably wind them around the bars).

I replaced the corners with nuts. Two thread bars sticking in.

Problem right now is, to construct this support in a manner that actually will carry the load. the thing on the picture is soldered with regular solder and won’t last. I’d have to at least braze or weld the stuff. A first attempt to braze it at home failed miserably, so I’ll have to look for help somewhere.

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PD and Arduino

Monday, October 18th, 2010

I explored some ways to use PD to communicate with an Arduino. There are wo ways to interact with an Arduio from PD: serial communication via the [comport] object and controlling the Arduino directly with [pduino] using the firmata firmware.

[comport] simply sends and receives serial messages. I found it a little difficult to convert those messages into the right format as to understand and further process them. The PD help file isn’t exactly helpful to that extend, but I found a patch called ArduinoPDMessageSystem that makes sense of the serial messages, even though I haven’t understood every objects function there yet.

So far, I have managed to send messages to the Arduino to interface a HCF4094 shift register controlling 8 LEDs. I use the same register to control my “Diskokugel”, so heres for the next step to its completion :-)

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My Tammes Problem

Monday, August 30th, 2010

After a two weeks pause I urgently needed, I got back to my problem of the equally distributed circles on a sphere. Some more research revealed that it is a problem yet unsolved. It is called Tammes Problem, a specialization of the Thomson Problem. Wikipedia shows some solutions, which is quite convenient. I still struggle with the practical application though…

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Diskokugel 0.2

Friday, August 13th, 2010


Ok, so after 4 days of soldering witness the new version of “Diskokugel” with speakers attached. I am quite satisfied with the looks.

out now: 0.2beta

out now: 0.2beta

The longer you look, the more patterns you'll find...

The longer you look, the more patterns you'll find...

The wireframe. Withe the background cancelled out it's more comprehensible.

The wireframe. With the the background cancelled out it's more comprehensible.

Doing all the soldering I had plenty of time to contemplate on the design so far:
The wireframe has quite a few disadvantages considering the further construction. It is not very exact, not very stable and I haven’t figured out a way to construct and attach proper enclosures for the individual speakers to prevent the acoustic cancelation of lower frequencies.
I could fill the whole thing with polyurethane foam and carve it out like a pumpkin, but that’s not what I’d call elegant. So I am considering to somehow build the thing on a plastic basis. Cast it, mill it with a cnc-mill, whatever…
Anyway, I will leave this problem be for now and rather start working with the existing model. That means:
– get an Arduino
– connect it to the existing circuit and PD
– put it all into the ball and check out what it can do

All that in probably two weeks, because now I need a vacation from it all.

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A glimpse of the future

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

My brain hurts from trying to figure out how to equally spread circles on a sphere. So far, i arrived at a solution that surrounds a pentagon with 5 hexagons, the former made of 5 the latter of 7 speakers. Here you can see the first model, soldered of wire. As you can see, I miscalculated the size of the pentagons, so the only contain 3 speakers. This will be corrected without delay, since shortly after these pictures were taken the whole construction rolled of the bed it lay on and burst into pieces. Have fun imagining my face after that…


Diskokugel 0.1 alpha

Diskokugel 0.1 alpha

soldering 0.1 Alpha

soldering 0.1 Alpha

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Discokugel News

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Christian und ich haben den ersten Prototypen einer Schaltung getestet. Die Schaltung steuert 8 Lautsprecher über ein Schieberegister. Die Schaltung funktioniert soweit und das Ergebnis macht definitiv Lust auf mehr :-) Sowohl mit Sprache als auch mit einem simplen 440 Hz Ton lassen sich schöne Effekte erzielen und ich habe auch gleich ein paar neue Ideen bekommen. Wie zu erwarten war, sind natürlich auch neue Probleme aufgetreten. Mit den meisten habe ich gerechnet. Z.B. werden wir unsere Schaltung dahingehend ergänzen müssen, dass das Umschalten der Lautsprecher dann passiert, wenn sich die Phase des Audiosignals bei 0 befindet, um ein Knacken beim Umschalten zu verhindern. Das wird nicht unproblematisch sein, da schon der geringe Offset des momentanen Vorverstärkers dafür sorgt, dass die Lautsprecher auch ohne eingespielten Ton beim Umschalten hörbar knacken.

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Project Speaker Ball

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Together with a friend from the sublab I started a new project. It’s a mirror ball that consists of approximately little speakers instead of mirrors. All speakers will get the same audio signal but can be switched on and off individually. This way, it is possible to let a sound travel over the balls surface. If synchronization works out, another audio file could be played with each switching to another speaker. The whole thing will be controlled with PD via USB.

Right now we’re working on a test circuit for 8 speakers. Once it works I will upload it here, hopefully with proper documentation.

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