I’ve been playing with music tools for ages, most of my experiments are related to digital tools like MAXMSP, Propellerheads Reason, Ableton Live, and VST’s, but for the last year, I started to need to put the computer aside because I am very tired of computers. Digging on the internet for hardware DIY synthesizers I stumbled upon the Axoloti board. It’s a hardware PCB, where you can create your music instrument the way you want. Of course, you will need a computer to program the board, but once it is programmed it works standalone, has MIDI in and out ports, can act as MIDI USB host, SD card support, and it has a bunch of GPIO’s to add physical devices like sensors, buttons, potentiometers and LEDs.

As for the software side, depending on what you want to do, it is where you will need patching knowledge. You can create a sampler, a loopstation, a synthesizer, almost anything you can imagine it can be done with the Axoloti. Since I am not very keen to audio synth programming I feel limited in capabilities, so I use to dig in the forums for something related to what I want to do, and start from there. It also has a very extensive library with tutorials and user-contributed examples which is a great place to start.

Once you open a patch this is what it looks like, sometimes it will become messy, more like spaghetti in hell. Due to being a visually driven person, I tend to align objects in a visual manner, with equal spacing between objects and so, which tends to add complexification to the creative process.

Aside from this, the Axo board has a very crisp sound, and if you like to mess with frequencies, harmonics, sampling and modulation you will become quite addicted to it, that’s for sure!

Snail the Light Seeker

This creature roams through the surrounding environment and seeks for light sources. When an object is too close it reverses motion and turns around, and then goes on seeking light.

I used an old toy motor and platform, then added two LDR light sensors, a SHARP infrared sensor on the front and Arduino Diecimila for the brain.





11-11-08 UPDATE:
My Snail bot is on WIRED  :)

big br0 (work in progress)

Here goes my second robot. This turns out to be the 4th robot actually  :)

I found this offroad car in an old junk and it was love at first sight!

Now I want to add some brains and sensors and give him a new life :]

The steering DCmotor burned out and I’ve removed all the gears and stuff around it. I’ve made a hole and installed a servo motor to do the steering, it seems to work out good!  I can´t post a video because the motor shield I was using burned out as well, now I’m working on a custom motor driver  …  (it seems I’m having lots of burning issues lately)  :D



2008 – 09 – 22 —- update ———————————

My custom motor controller seems to work quite well!  These videos show the servo steering.

Baratinha (My 1st Robot)

This was my first robotic experiment, I used an arduino and a motor shield with one servo for steering and a small dc motor for traction.

I didn’t have any cool sensors like infrared or ultrasonic at the moment, so I used two micro-switches to be like bug sensors. And I called it “baratinha”, a Portuguese word for “little cockroach”.

Recently I found that this project is featured in ladyada´s ranting !
And also on MAKE blog !

I´m so proud of my little Baratinha!!  :]               Thanks to João Silva for putting me up-to-date!



I thought this was a finished project… I was wrong!! :]
I’ve decided to change the structure and the geometry of the chassis. Now the gravity center is lower, which performs more stability. I’ve decided to remove the other power switches and put these smaller ones, one below the other, so that I can switch on all the system at once. And now about the ultrasonic sensor :)
I’m programming the navigation system, and it’s being another challenge for me! But I’m having lots of fun with it!!
I’ll be out for one week so see you soon guys! ;)



Just a final note: I thought that if I created a blog post and assigned it to my robot project it would appear in this page.. but it didn’t.. so, I’ll update only this page from now on..

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1 week later.. :)

I´m closing this project because the motor that I’m using is very weak and it doesn’t have enough strength to run with all that stuff. I’ll make a similar one with a stronger motor and bigger wheels, and with a better understanding of robot design!

It was a good way to start and I’ve learned a lot about hand crafts, physical construction, materials and programming. :)

I started this robot without any planning at all, I was just adding more and more stuff, and when a problem was solved, another problem was created, so this resulted very time consuming. It was something like adding something here and something there, then I didn´t liked it there so changed it… Now I must fix this because I’m thinking about a new way of doing it… so it was like a never ending project  :)

The main purpose here was to build something, to understand how work some materials, like hot glue,  and to program an interaction system.


The main purpose here was to build something, understand how some materials work like hot glue, and program an interaction system.