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by caitlin morris + lisa kori chung

sound by davide cairo + francesco novara


Sway is a space where sound and physical form meet. The environment reflects the palpable experience of listening to music, in which many small parts work together to create a larger whole. When visitors become immersed in the mass of translucent reeds that form the geometry of the room, the sound composition reacts at the location of disturbance: individual sonic textures are revealed and distorted, unifying the experience of physical and aural textural breakdown. 

general workflow

140+ flex sensors are grouped by 19 multiplexers into three Arduinos. Each Arduino sends an array of sensor data (via Serial or XBee) to Processing. In Processing, these arrays are combined into a single array which is transmitted over OSC to MaxMSP. MaxMSP converts the data to MIDI and sends the MIDI stream to Ableton.

assorted documentation

Arduino Code Organization

In "arduino_files", folders starting with serial_BOARD_ use USB serial communication to send data to Processing.

Folders starting with debug_BOARD_ use USB serial communication to print sensor data to the serial monitor in Arduino.

Folders starting with xbee_BOARD_ communicate wirelessly to Processing via XBee.

XBee versus Serial modes

In the Arduino files, there is a version for sending data from each Arduino via XBee and a version for sending via serial with USB cables. Both work but the XBee transmission has significantly higher latency. In XBee mode, the RX/TX pins on each Arduino should be connected to the XBees. In Serial mode, these pins should be disconnected.

Uploading to Arduino

To upload any firmware onto the Arduinos, first disconnect the RX/TX header pin group from the Arduino board, then upload, then reconnect RX/TX so that the RED line (coming from DOUT on XBee) is connected to RX 0. IN and OUT onboard LEDs on the XBee shield should start blinking when connected to power.

Testing with dummy data

To test the basic XBee router / controller communication, there are three files for sending a series of false data in the folder "dummy_xbee_transmitters" nested under "code_tests_archive". The files are the same except for the false values that they're sending.

Working in debug mode

Within each debug_BOARD_ file, you can debug print either each individual raw sensor reading, or debug print the sum of the total displacement (which precisely mimics the data that's sent via XBee in release mode). Each debug file has a toggle at the start:

#define DEBUG_MODE 0 
//#define DEBUG_MODE 1

MODE 0 is for individual sensor printouts; MODE 1 is for total sum printouts. Comment only one out before uploading the file. Make sure that the RX/TX pins on the Arduino are disconnected from the XBee before running debug mode.

Library requirements

The Processing files in this repo are based on xbee-api :

The Arduino files require the xbee-arduino library :

Key controls for openFrameworks trim line projection adjustment

"projectionTrimlines" is an openFrameworks sketch which steps through slices of the entire room volume, for cutting the correct geometry into the volume of tubes. That sketch can be calibrated with these key commands:

LEFT / RIGHT : step backward and forward through frames

UP / DOWN: adjust top line ONLY (careful, this changes the relative height of the reed ends)

0: reset top line position relative to reed ends

R / T : global rotate left / right

U / D : global shift up / down


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