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DIY Electronics: Introduction to digital instrument design

Tuesdays 8, 15, 22, 29th October

During this workshop you will prototype your own instrument (hardware and software) using an Arduino microcontroller, sensors, and Max or Pure Data.

Date: Thursdays: 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of October. 6pm UK / 1pm EST / 10am PT

You will be introduced to the basics of working with an Arduino microcontroller and interfacing it with a computer software in order to generate, control and manipulate sound. We will use open source hardware and software (Arduino / Max or Pure Data) to prototype an instrument using buttons, switches, potentiometers and sensors. We will start by looking at the basics such as setting up Arduino and running sketches, analog vs digital pins, Arduino programming environment, basic electronic, etc. From there we will get a bit more advanced by looking at the serial communication, connecting sensors to Arduino, reading and values from sensors, and controlling sound parameters with them.


Beginner with some notions of programming. All participants are required to have a computer with pre-installed Arduino IDE and Max or PureData.


arduino: https://www.arduino.cc/

Pure Data: http://puredata.info/downloads

Max: https://www.cycling74.com

Useful but not essential: wire cutters & strippers, multimeters, soldering irons

Components (not included, please order):

Workshop sessions 

Thursday 8th October, session 1: introduction to Arduino: Hello World!

Basic electronic conventions
Arduino = software + hardware
Digital and analog pins
Arduino sketch structure
Running first sketch

Thursday 15th October, session 2: Hardware: Getting data from sensors

Prototyping on breadboard
Connecting sensor, potentiometer and button
Viewing data in Arduino IDE: Intro to serial monitor

Thursday 22nd October, session 3: Max/ Pure Data & Serial communication

Intro to Max / Pure Data – building a simple synth
Sending serial message: Arduino side
Receiving serial  message: Max / Pure Data side

Thursday 29th October, session 4: Putting it all together

Adding control to our synth patch in Max /  Pure Data
Experimenting and playing
More advanced Max / Pure Data patches.
Wrapping up: What’s next?
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