Simon spent most of the day coding, with a break to have his Chinese lesson. It turned out that he was composing his one codes. It was very frustrating when some of them didn’t work and gave complex error messages but several did. Here are two examples of his latest inventions:
// This will allow you to press a button to get a random number.
// The random module is effecting the random number.
// To see the random number, Click the Serial monitor above.
int random1 = A0;
int button = (digitalWrite, random1);
// ask a question to the Arduino.
// The sound trigger triggers the circuit whenever someone asks a question.
int trigger = A0;
And it worked! It makes the number bit go up to 99.
This afternoon Simon gave me an introductory lesson to soundwave shapes: triangular, saw tooth, ramp, pulse 0 to 100% duty cycle. It turned out he can imitate all of them easily, and that is next to his perfect pitch. Recently at a construction site he heard a truck buzzing and screamed: “F sharp in the highest octave!!” Well, now he can also say which wave shape that was.
Simon has discovered that every piano key on the electric piano corresponds to a certain voltage/ amount of energy/ electricity. He found this out by playing with his electric piano and the LittleBits, attaching various bits to the piano through a midi cable.
The lower the tune the lower the voltage on the number bit!
It’s always tough to learn to handle new software, especially if the interface we got didn’t really match the instructions in the YouTube video tutorials, but Simon didn’t give up and came up with a whole new way to use Ableton Live: he attached his MIDI i/o module to the laptop, switched it in OUT mode and chose Grand Paino in Ableton Live. This way his LittleBits synth experiments have acquired a much more pleasant sound and he could still continue observing the effects of the electricity on soundwaves. Then he tried different fun ways to control the piano, using just the slide dimmer alone or together with the delay module, which can create infinite echos.
Simon’s recorded himself playing a little Bartok piece he likes and then modified it using a LittleBits filter and usb i/o.
We have also tried to see what Bartok’s music looks like if we turn it into light. We connected the LittleBits cirtuit playing the Bartok piece to an RGB strip thus transforming soundwaves into electromagnetic waves!
Simon is spending his days learning to go about with his birthday presents – the new LittleBits modules. The CloudBit is probably one of his most important assets now, allowing him to control his circuits long distance (via the internet):
He can even program the CloudBit to send him (well, me actually) a text message if the module is triggered (every time Simon presses a button, for instance). We have also tried it the other way around – the CloudBit triggered the circuit every time we texted a certain number in the US. This type of programming is called “writing a recipe” and can be done via a website called If This Then That (IFTT) at https://ifttt.com/recipes
Simon’s eternal love for invertebrates made sure he actually enjoyed spending a short while at the Antwerpen Zoo this afternoon. He was glued to the aquariums with sea anemones and corals, going on and on about the overwhelming percentages of invertebrates among the animals, the echinoderms and the crustaceans. What surprised me was that he knew the way to the Aquarium after studying the map for just a couple of minutes. We’ve got a year-long pass to the zoo now, will try to keep it short every time as he gets exhausted easily and wants to get back home to his studying.
Simon started celebrating his 7th birthday a few days earlier this year as his best friend was visiting from Amsterdam. We’ve had an awesome time, with the Synth Pro tutorials on the background as Simon is anticipating new LittleBits as birthday gifts today. I’m only publishing his solo synth performance here but it actually flowed into a duet later on.