Final Project: Wind Guitar
Updated: Jul 18
Wind guitar is an instrumental sculpture sonifying the wind measured from the ITP weather station.
The concept is to make the instrument from weather data.
Personally, I feel that wind is a musician of nature. Every time the wind blowing, it always triggers the object to make some sound. Humans used it to create a decoration like a wind chime that producing sound when the wind blows. This piece could be a mini-concert for the wind performing live for humans.
Demonstration Video (Prototype Version)
In the prototype, audience also able to collaboratively perform with the nature.
- Arduino Nano 33IOT
The system of this project is the Arduino get the weather data from the ITP weather station database via server and use the data to control rotation and speed of stepper motor.
Most of the coding part , I followed the example code from Yeseul's weather station example. To store the data, I decided to pull data from the server using a transaction ID instead of by date. The Arduino will send HTTP request with a new transaction ID to the server every time after the stepper motor finished rotating.
Before I got the stepper motor, I decided to test the code with servos. The wind direction data control the angle of two 180degrees servos. But, the rotation is not accurate because each servo can not rotate over 180 degrees. Even I attach two servos together, try could not rotate in a circle.
Stepper motor test
Stepper motor worked much better than the servo. I decided to use wind direction data to control the rotation and wind speed to control the rpm of the motor. This is my first time using a stepper motor by following the tutorial from Adafruit and Physical Computing Lab.
Due to the COVID situation, I have to fabricate this project based on the materials and tools that I have in my home.
During the research process, I found instrument building tutorials in Bash the Trash channel on youtube.
Some tricks that I got from this channel is I have to tighten the string extremely tight to get a good sound and also, to build a guitar, I have to have some materials to amplify the sound of the string. ( also learning physic of the guitar from this video)
I decided to do several experiments with the material that I have at home.
with rubber band and box
I like the sound of this experiment and the box amplified the sound very well. Unfortunately, I don't have enough rubber bands at home.
with string and empty coke can
I decided to go with this direction because of the quantity of the material that I have. The coke can is not as good as a box but it easier to find. Also, I can tune the sound of the string easily by tightening it.
The body of Wind Guitar is made by foam board. I planned to place coke can in a horizontal way around the board. But the problem is it really hard to hold the can with the foamboard because of the curved surface of it.
Since we are in quarantine, I have a lot of can food in my place. I decided to use those to hold the string. Unfortunately, It's still not working because I can not tighten the string with the can, and also the can is not heavy enough, when the motor hitting the string the can will move.
After the experiment with can, I decided to use plastic containers from my Physical Computing Final project to hold the string. It's not amplifying the sound that well but it is a really good holder. To tighten the string I used screws and butterfly wings nut to do the job like a guitar knobs.
If I can make a bigger version of it. The objects holding strings will be some percussion objects like drum or bucket. So, people who walk past the piece can collaboratively play some song with the wind.