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Messages - sam

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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.

Questions / Re: Midi velocity and harmonics
« on: August 30, 2017, 06:28:57 PM »
Hi Gabriel.  The velocity is only one value, additional processing algorithms on the conductivity data being sampled could be developed and added to the code, you just need to figure out what type of information you are representing with the Velocity value (sample data rate, consistency of data), it would make sense to normally send velocity 95 and then do a 'peak' 127 based on the data algorithm for 'accent'.

Scaling of notes is best accomplished through Ableton Live 'scale' (under MIDI effects).  I suggest watching some youtube videos about how scale works because it has very powerful features.  Most scaling plugins will take an incoming note and map it to the next nearest scaled note.  You can also use this plugin to limit the note range.

The sprout already has code for scaling, you would just need to fire up the arduino IDE, edit the currScale = one of the listed scale arrays, or add your own custom scale.  You could also change the noteMin and noteMax variables (currently 36{C2} - 96{C7}) to limit the note range to your needs.

I wouldn't suggest using the MIDI Sprout Tools app, if you are using Live you have much more powerful tools!

Questions / Re: Midi Monitor not responding
« on: August 24, 2017, 10:51:25 AM »
Sorry to say, that cable is crap! 

Those very inexpensive (hope you didn't pay more than $10 for it) MIDI devices are NOT wired for standard MIDI compliance.  Those USB cables have a hard connection between the Ground of the Sprout USB and the ground of the USB, this means you are not going to get the 'isolation' needed between the Sprout and your computer.  MIDI requires the MIDI input device to use an opto-coupled input such that the MIDI output device (the Sprout) will drive a tiny LED inside the opto coupler on the MIDI Input device, this method allows total electrical separation of the two devices. 

I have tried to modify those MIDI cables (lifting the Ground) but it appears that the cable requires a ground connection between the two devices.

I utilize an EMU MIDI cable https://www.amazon.com/CREATIVE-EMU-XMIDI-MIDI-Interface/dp/B000JLU26W which is the cheapest and functional USB/MIDI device which i've seen work correctly. 


Questions / Re: Midi Monitor not responding
« on: August 10, 2017, 04:01:38 PM »
It sounds like you are almost there!

What type of USB to MIDI device are you using?  You will need to configure the MIDI monitor to listen to the USB/MIDI input (EMU MIDI Input - or whatnot).  You don't need to use IAC Bus, this is only used to route midi around inside your computer to multiple programs.

What audio software synthesizer are you using?  You should be able to configure the MIDI in your synth software to also accept your USB/MIDI device as Input.


Questions / Re: usb midi interface - windows 10
« on: August 03, 2017, 06:42:14 PM »
No, You do not need the MIDI Sprout Tools, it is a novelty program.

 You only need a USB to MIDI converter. The one you link is okay I use a different EMU unit (see my other posts on this topic). Your akai mpk is fine for MIDI to USB conversion.

Questions / Re: Need to ship midi sprout in
« on: July 12, 2017, 01:38:48 PM »
Hey Thomas, I'll send you an email to coordinate


Questions / Re: Working in Tiny Bursts
« on: July 09, 2017, 09:50:11 PM »
I'll send you an email and we can get you all fixed up!

Sorry it has taken so long to get your issue remedied.


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