Drum-SticksIdea 2: Virtual Drumsticks

Note: My original idea below was not within scope of the project requirements, so I am revising my proposal as follows.

I fell in love with electronic music nearly 20 years ago. I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop music, but the first time I heard Daft Punk’s album Homework, I felt like I was transported to another world. The deep basslines and mesmerizing rhythms were what drew me in, and recently I have begun playing with a midi controller and Garage Band to try making some of my own electronic beats.

So, while listening to Robert Owens on Duke Dumont’s new album, I I decided I wanted to deconstruct the track and create my own interactive version of the song.

To do this, I will create a set of virtual drumsticks that could be used to control the various sounds in the track. For the drumsticks, I will be utilizing two ball tilt switches attached to long lead wires that can be swung back and forth in a drumming motion. When the enclosed steel ball is moved, it breaks the circuit and the Arduino will send a signal to Processing to play a wav file.

I hope to add some additional switches to control the playback of the main baseline, and also add some visual effects that can be projected to a screen along with the music.


 

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Idea 1: Cyber Aquarium

I have been a long time saltwater aquarium enthusiast, and one of the problems I have had is maintaining a regular feeding schedule for my fish when I am away, or even on a daily basis. Sometimes I am just too busy to remember to feed my fish throughout the day, and I end up giving one large feeding all at once, which is not as optimal for my fish (fish like to graze continually throughout the day rather than having one large meal). On top of that, other people in my household sometimes feed them without my knowledge, which leads to overfeeding, wasted food and polluted water conditions.

My idea is to create an automatic fish feeder. There are already several auto feeders on the market, which are controlled by time intervals (feed every 4 hours, etc). However, I would like to take my fish feeder one step further: train my fish to request a meal when it is hungry!

To achieve this, I would use an Arduino connected to a sensor that can recognize the presence of the fish. This may possibly be a proximity or distance sensor, IR sensor, etc. When the fish comes within proximity of the feeding area, a signal will be sent to a motor to rotate and dispense food from a small container. Upon completing the motor’s cycle, more fish food will enter the container in preparation for the next feeding.

Eventually, I hope that the fish will “learn” that it can receive food when entering the feeding area. To prevent overfeeding, a timeout will be implemented in the Arduino code so that the fish can only receive food once per hour. I am not sure if the fish can understand an LED or not, but I will have an LED mounted on the tank that will indicate if feeding is available or not. When the LED is on, the fish is allowed to have food, and the LED will turn off once the fish receives its meal until the next hourly allowance has become activated.

Other ways to expand on this idea would be using more sensors to gather more data about the fish and environment to make the feeding sequence more effective, such as turning pumps on or off, monitoring water conditions, etc. An LED could also be implemented to display the feeding status to the owner, so that you can quickly see what time the last feeding was, how many times the fish ate that day, etc.

I have found a similar project that utilizes an in-tank switch or “lure” to control feeding (https://hackaday.io/project/4894-training-fish-to-feed-themselves). However, the switch is made of copper, which would not be suitable for a saltwater aquarium. I would like to explore other methods of detecting when the fish is hungry that are more minimal and less obtrusive. I would like the system to be simple to setup and use so that it does not detract from the beauty of the aquarium.