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Messages - sam

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Questions / Re: USB midi not responding
« on: January 16, 2018, 09:18:04 PM »
Alinta, what type of midi-usb cable do you have?  the cheap intefaces do not work with the Sprout (nor many MIDI devices).  I have written a couple posts about this topic on the forum, the cheapest ones just don't have the parts inside of them. Even an old casio or other keyboard should be able to give you instant results .

MIDI is the hardest part for most users of this device, as the user is expected to create and amplify sounds.  It does take a bit of work and money to get a computer based MIDI music synthesis system setup.  There are a vast number of MIDI to USB interfaces , but depending on where you are located yes $100 is a high pricen for that emu unit.  An electronic musician might spend a large amount on a high quality and versatile MIDI interface.

Questions / Re: MidiSprout controlling 8channel Switch Relay
« on: January 10, 2018, 12:14:12 PM »
Hello Julio, yes that is a great idea to control a set of relays with the sprout.  How much programming experience do you have, and is this your first electronics project?  Your modifications are very doable, but it will take a bit of solder and code!

1.) what type of relay board are you using?  Many relay boards for arduino have 8 individual digital input pins, some use SPI/I2C, and others can use Serial to trigger the relays.   I think we have 8 digital pins available on the sprout, so even the most basic or diy relay setup should be able to be 'wired' to the sprout.

2.) You can easily modify the code to turn a relay on when a note is triggered and off when an note is updated. 
   a. First you should increase the note polyphony from 5 to 8 (to match your relays). 
   b. Second, In setNote() add  some code to turn on the relay digitalWrite(relayPin[ i ],HIGH);  where relayPin[] is an array containing the pin number for each of the relay inputs and "i" is the currently available 'note' of the 8 available from polyphony
   c. Third, in checkNote() add some code to turn off the relay when the note is expired digitalWrite(relayPin[ i ],LOW);

This method will have the relays mirror the notes and durations as they turn on and off.

Good luck!  please post some more info of your build!


Questions / Re: USB midi not responding
« on: December 26, 2017, 09:55:59 AM »
Most MIDI adapters will work, it is the lower end units which do not adhere to optical isolated MIDI standard which do not work.  This topic has been covered in detail in a few other posts on the forum, I use an EMU MIDI to USB cable


Questions / Re: Midi Monitor not responding
« on: December 20, 2017, 10:34:57 PM »
Hello Stacy.  We have lots of videos and posts on the forum which should be able to give you an idea of what it takes to use the MIDI Sprout.  I recommend you go through all the posts (there aren't too many), look at the youtube page, and see what I have said to other users.

In summary, if you have never used MIDI before or do not have any synthesizer experience then that's going to be the hardest part for you.  The sprout itself is easy - attach the trodes, plug it, in turn the knob.  But then you need to know what to do with the 5 note polyphonic MIDI data and have the equipment to generate sounds

Questions / Re: midi problem
« on: December 20, 2017, 10:26:01 PM »
Hey trey i got your email, thought i'd respond here on the forum also. I'm happy to discuss with you, but you will need to reach out to Data Garden if you need a replacement.

There have been many users who report the sprout 'banging out a string of C notes'.  Please clarify tho, do you ever get different notes (when squeezing the electrodes with your fingers really tightly) or is it always just a C?  Can you view the data on your computer using a MIDI Monitor, or record the MIDI data to view the notes?  Remember that the Sprout is limited to 5 note polyphonic, so your mono mother will only be pushing a quarter of the notes. 

I explain this phenomena in two ways:

1. It is very common when using the sprout to have the notes centered around a 'root', while many users report the root note being C it varies based on the type of plant and activity level.  By turning the threshold knob clockwise, the density of notes will reduce and the root become apparent.  I have also found a training period is often needed with plants when first starting to use a plant, allow the biodata system to run for a couple hours and then check back on the sounds.

2. It is possible that there is an error in manufacturing or programing.  I have had only a few early kickstarter sprouts returned with 'single note' issue, and out of those only 1 genuinely had a programming issue.  Other possible hardware issues include a bad LMC555 timer, burning out the electrode input by plugging-in/touching other electronic devices, or a user error when managing the MIDI data.

So, in short, root note triggering is a part of normal biodata measurement (a repeated fluctuation in conductivity over the same delta/change amount), but if you put the trodes in your hand and squeeze and you only get a single pitch then you may need hardware support.


Questions / Re: Midi-USB-Galaxy s8 phone?
« on: December 04, 2017, 01:35:03 PM »
Hello Melanie.   Yes 'most' usb-MIDI devices will work with this setup.  It is very easy with a USB OTG (on the go) cable to attach any USB device to your android phone.  Don't cheap out and get some $4 USB-midi device as they are electronically crap ;)!!!

And most android MIDI enabled apps will work.  Its fairly easy, and has nothing to do with the Sprout (it is all MIDI capable USB devices and compatibility with apps).

I'd suggest focusing your research on USB MIDI devices and OTG cables which work specifically with phone, I'm certain the sprout will work fine!  Stay tuned for my BlueTooth BLE devices!

Questions / Re: Breadboard or Prebuilt?
« on: December 04, 2017, 01:26:33 PM »
Hi Martin, yes kits are available directly from me at my store:  https://squareup.com/store/electricityforprogress

Also everything is open source, so you can spin your own boards and source parts as needed.

feel free to send me an email if you want to discuss kits further:  samuel (dot) cusumano (at) gmail (dot) com

Questions / Re: How to open MidiSprout Tools in Mac OSx
« on: November 23, 2017, 01:35:02 PM »
Cajak, sorry you are having trouble.   Basically, don't bother with the MIDI Sprout Tools application, it is a novelty toy app and doesn't do anything important for your Sprout.  It's a PD app and i just built it cause i was having fun teaching students about Pure Data and visual programming.  If you have trouble setting up PDextended on your computer, just avoid it. 

You should spend your energy focusing on using MIDI and moving that data around your computer, which is a significant challenge in itself!


Questions / Re: Intermittent Midi Sprout
« on: November 23, 2017, 01:32:21 PM »
I've done a bit more research (some of which was fun and destructive ;) and I'm thinking that an entirely new change algorithm and note mapping is probably appropriate at this point.  The MIDI Sprout runs the most basic application of my Biodata Sonification codebase and there are huge areas of growth and improvement which I have been pursuing over the past couple years following the Kickstarter.  I have a newer 'wifi' enabled biodata module which does not have this 'C' note avoidance nor does it 'constantly bang one note', all of which required a significantly more intelligent algorithm which can provide a 'human' observer with a better sonic experience.  I've also noticed how mishandling of the electrodes (touching things which would obviously destroy an electronic device - like a toaster) can cause many problems which can only be fixed by replacing the 555 timer... honestly i'm amazed that anyone can blow out a 555 timer, but its exciting that our MIDI Sprout community has explored deep enough to surprise even the engineer!

Of course I always come back to the fact that "Plants don't perform on demand" and "all of our greatest expectations are based on fragile human senses and sensibilities".

I'm very proud of Jon from Data Garden as he has pushed to develop an application to play the MIDI Sprout on an iphone. This app takes all of the scaling and annoying notes out of the picture and utilizes an additional algorithm to play pleasant tones using samples and synthesis.  It is only for iphones (hey don't complain i'm an android user too) and it is a great step forward for Data Garden.  I suggest grabbing an iPhone to USB 'camera connection kit' and trying out the app! 


Questions / Re: DAWless use of MIDIsprout ?
« on: November 23, 2017, 01:22:15 PM »
Randolf, it is easy to modify the code, but with that said it does take some skill and hardware to be able to 'easily' reprogram the board.

I have made some significant improvements to the code, and have added a tactile button which enables multiple scales to be chosen, but even my newest code doesn't yet 'save' selections like scale or midi channel to the eeprom.  It would only take a couple tests to get this up and running, though.  So if you are a programmer or have the hacking-bug then i'm sure you can get it all up and running on your Sprout by popping in a pushbutton attached to pin A1 and using the 'arduino shield' code which has a few extra modes like scaling and channel selection!

Questions / Re: Kit Construction Question: Component Voltages
« on: November 23, 2017, 01:17:40 PM »
The capacitors can mostly be any value, since we are only dealing with low voltages (~5v).  essentially you want to have caps rated for at least double the operating voltage, so 16v would be file.  But I'd say "any caps from your junk bin should be able to build the galvanometer with a 100k resistor and the magical 555 timer IC".

For your second question, yes it is very easy to use an Arduino Uno (or any arduino) to run the Biodata code and attach to the 555 galvanometer circuit.  I have instructions to build a 'Biodata Arduino Shield' on my github site here. I also have kits for the Arduino Shield with solderable circuit board (kit or assembled by request) available in my Electricity for Progress Store.

Development / Re: Error while uploading midi sprout code
« on: November 08, 2017, 02:59:08 PM »
I'm very glad that you have 'rolled your own' biodata sonification system. 

Your compiling issue in the Arduino IDE can be easily solved by changing the 'board' to 'Arduino Uno'.  You likely have a board profile for a 'Naked 328p on a breadboard', which would need the battery code to appear above the setup() function.  Change the board and recompile!


Questions / Re: Intermittent Midi Sprout
« on: September 12, 2017, 01:11:26 PM »
Yes, this is a common complaint which I have received.  I don't believe that there is anything wrong with your sprout.  If you touch the electrodes with your fingers and there is a light show then the system should be working as designed.  Also turning the unit on/off will usually create a flourish of notes, the plant will recognize if there is voltage present on the electrodes and will react, but this will not necessarily be a durable reaction.

Remember, when performing with plants the environment which you bring the plants into will directly impact and affect the plant.  The travel itself will have an impact and the time of 'performance' will also weigh in.  In the past users have tried to perform 'at 2am in the back bar of a rock club' and found mixed results with the plant seeming unresponsive, while then back at home at 3a lots of activity could be seen. 

The plants do not always perform when we want them too, and after the past few years i can say that i am completely unable to 'force' a plant to generate measurable bioactivity (well outside of subdermal injection of an acidic/basic solution).

What types of plants were you using, what time was the performance, and how much crazyness was happening at the venue for your performance?  Were you using a plant which you have previously worked with, or did you connect to a new plant?

If desired, you can send it to me and i would be happy to test it and provide repair if needed, but I don't think that anything is wrong with your sprout.  Leave the sprout and synth system connected to your plant and let it run for 6+ hours, you should encounter a period of activity as the plant goes through its normal daily routine.

Questions / Re: Midi Monitor not responding
« on: September 10, 2017, 09:50:37 AM »
Sorry that you are having trouble with the MIDI devices, and i know it is very hard to find good items in a store.  I know that this knowledge requires experience with electronic music equipment, and it is challenging that there are so many poor quality products which retailers are willing to sell. 

If the USB/MIDI devices is a simple  cable with a box in the middle, is from a no-name company, or costs less than $40 it probably isn't going to work.  And for everyone playing along at home, this is a link on how to fix/repair these types of USB/MIDI cables and shows what the 'problem' is.

An easy rule of thumb is:  If it comes inside a professional piece of music equipment, midi controller, or from a name brand then the device will be MIDI compliant and will work with the MIDI Sprout.

From your list, the Roland UM1 is a brand name and will certainly work. 

The Qdaily/HiFing looks identical to the unit i use, so i'd say 50% chance it is actually identical on the inside. This is the Emu from your seller.

The single and double TBox i have doubts about and wasn't able to find much info online (reviews).

And the Puc, ah sweet Puc!  I have had both excellent and sad experiences with the Puc.  It is really cool to be wireless connected, but bluetooth is not a good solution particularly for MIDI Sprout where distance between the plant and the computer are most fun when longer than 15 feet.  The puc works 'right next to' the ipad or receiving device...very short range (in my experience).  This range issue is why i'm skipping bluetooth/ble and am almost finished a Wifi Biodata system.

Questions / Re: Only chromatic Midi data?
« on: September 10, 2017, 09:30:21 AM »
In MIDI there is the possibility to do micro tuning.  One method would use the base note and pitch bend by a small amount, MIDI Pitch bend has a much more fine resolution.  See the 'Easy Way:' below...

The MIDI Sprout is programed detect change through an algorithm and output MIDI notes (chromatic) in proportion to the amount of change recorded.   It is quite possible to change or replace this with a different algorithm which outputs different types of MIDI data, there is even a control voltage output (low passed PWM) which can smoothly provide 1023 specific values between 0 and VCC.

The concept of 'reading the frequency of the plant' is not exactly how the Sprout works.  Here we are detecting the conductivity between two probes which are attached to the plant's leaf.  This is a 'point in time' measurement, many measurements are made a fast as possible and the data is stored.  Overtime there are fluctuations in the conductivity measured, but don't think of this as a periodic frequency in an audible sense - the rate at which measurements are being read makes a large difference to the density (kinda like calculus filling the area under a curve with the smallest possible slices/readings).  The MIDI notes which are output when a change is detected are calculated as whole numbers. 

If you consider what aspect of the data you are trying to measure, Delta/Min/Max/ MaxchangeRate/ StandardDeviationChangeRate, it should not be hard to come up with an algorithm that outputs microtunings.  And you will need a MIDI synthesizer which is capable of reading and playing those modified notes.

Most people want to have a more simple scale or limit the range of the notes, your idea of microtuning is something which i tried early on but abandoned due to issues with musicality and the challenge in perceiving polyphonic microtonal changes versus macroscopic notes.

Easy Way:  The MIDI sprout outputs Notes on Channel 1 along with MIDI CC 80.  If you are using a computer or perhaps AbletonLive, you can map the MIDI CC80 to control the pitch bend of your synth.  This will present a fine tuned slew to each of the notes.  The note pitch represents the amount of change (delta), the CC 80 represents the rate of change over time.

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