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Cube Culture: Light piper

by John Moser

Light piper is a permanent installation at the Children's Museum of Richmond, in Richmond, Virginia, USA. The main project objectives were to demonstrate the use of solar panels in a fun, interactive way and to provide an experience that would be different each time a kid visited the museum. To achieve this, I used small solar panels as light sensors, and interfaced these with the I-CubeX through a series of photocell sensors that I custom made. There are 17 solar cells connected to the I-CubeX, and the Digitizer is programmed to trigger "note-on" commands through 17 notes in a chromatic scale. From there, the "note-on" commands are routed through 2 Roland JV1010 sound modules and one Roland SP-303 Dr. Sample sampler. From the visitor/ user's perspective, the electronics are not visible. Users control one of three light sources and a selector switch that allows them to pick one of the 3 sound modules to play through. The staff at the museum vary the settings on the sound modules periodically for variety. So far the project has been a big success and I'm planning the next variation on the theme for my next fun project. I'm on my 3rd I-CubeX system now, hoping to find a new museum or school that will be interested .

30 November 2002

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