Prototyping for Sound: Arduino MP3 Player Shield

I’m experimenting with a Sparkfun mp3 player shield for Arduino, using it to prototype for a sound installation idea. In this prototype there are just simple push buttons, while the final installation is more likely to use sensing or more complex triggers. This prototype allows me to experiment with different sounds and on a small scale, get a sense of how sound transitions might work. For the speaker I’m using my old faithful Fender mini amp, love this little device! I use it routinely for prototyping. The video here demonstrates a setup of simple push button that trigger custom sounds stored on the sd card.

There are tutorials and libraries on the Sparkfun site and Github. I used this tutorial to get started.

Want to learn more about Arduino shields?

 

Interactive Design with the Arduino Microcontroller

I hope you can join me for this Arduino workshop at the College Arts Association Conference this February in NYC.

Register for the conference

Interactive Design with the Arduino Microcontroller
Workshop Leader: Jenn Karson, University of Vermont FabLab
Friday, 02/17/17: 1:30–3:00 PM
Concourse E, Concourse Level

An electronics platform, the Arduino microcontroller is based on relatively easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for anyone (designers, inventors, musicians, educators, artists, makers, architects, scientists and researchers) interested in making interactive projects, prototypes and tools. Design with the Arduino gives one the ability to define inputs and outputs like sensing, light, sound and motion. In this short workshop we’ll explore its founding philosophy and provide hands-on time for building simple circuits and interactions. You do not need any previous experience or knowledge to take this workshop; we encourage everyone who is interested to join the fun!

Required Workshop Materials: Laptop with current operating system. In advance of the workshop, please download Arduino software: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software.

Registration cap: 10

Potential Workshop Specializations: Materials-Art Making Techniques-Studio Practice, Technology and/or Software-Specific Training, Pedagogy-Educational Strategies-Teaching Methodology

 

Welcome to Winter in Vermont

It’s the coldest and darkest time of year here in Vermont, a time for studio work, friends, family, reflection and renewal. Above is a celebration of the season’s sounds and snow – I love the softness of these snowy days! Below are two poems about the dark that were shared through a Dharma Seed podcast with Donald Rothberg on December 19, 2016. I find them very inspiring and so share them with you today. They are thoughtful reminders of  the light and color that can be found in the depths of dark, far from the bright glow of our mobile devices and the distractions of entertaining TV and computer screens.

Wendell Berry: “To Know the Dark”

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

Passage from Wishing Bone Cycle

All the warm nights sleep in moonlight
keep letting it go into you, do this all your life 
do this and you will shine outward in old age.
The moon will think that you are the moon.

Interactive Design and Prototyping

 

CEMS 095/295 Special Topics
3 Credits
Spring Semester 2017
Thursdays 5-8 pm
Instructor: Jenn Karson

CRN numbers:
On Campus Undergrad, CEMS 95: 15539
Online Undergrad, CEMS 95:15602
On Campus Graduate, CEMS 295: 15707
Online Graduate, CEMS 295: 15708

Most material costs are covered.
Course expenses

Pricing for non-degree students

This course opens up a world of innovation to students across disciplines. Within the span of a semester, students without previous engineering or programming knowledge will learn to build working interactive prototypes using sensors, light, sound and motion. In preparation for a final independent project, course teachings will include rapid prototyping, aesthetics, project management and presentation skills, the study of meaningful interaction between humans and machines, and profiles of prominent innovators from the humanities and sciences.

In hands-on labs students will learn how to build with the Arduino microcontroller, an electronics platform based on relatively easy-to-use hardware and software. The Arduino is a favorite tool of inventive designers, musicians, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, makers, architects, scientists and researchers. assignments will challenge students to apply their newly acquired technical skills to creative projects that solve problems, inspire curiosity and follow independent lines of inquiry.

For more information see details below. This course promises to be both challenging and fun – join us!

Massimo Banzi, founder of the Arduino micrcontroller speaks to how the tool is ideal for the novice:

 

Details:
Open to all UVM Majors and Continuing Education Students
20 Classroom Seats (Hills 20)
10 Online Seats
No prerequisites
Download the Syllabus

 

REGISTRATION DATES

Degree Students
Week of November 14, 2016

Continuing Education Students
Step 1: Preregister anytime (24 hour processing)*
Step 2: Registration Begins November 21, 2016 learn.uvm.edu

*Preregistration is necessary for new UVM non degree students.

QUESTIONS?

Fill out the form below or contact
Jenn Karson

It’s Piezoelectric!

logo shows cityscape of burlington and sound waves

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”
— Henry Miller

JuJuScope

The JuJuScope is a device that discovers hidden worlds of sounds in everyday environments.

The JuJuScope provides access to new ways of exploring, knowing and mapping a place. Unlike most other sound devices that tune out the surrounding environment, the JuJuScope provides a unique opportunity to tune into environments; explorations with the JuJuScope activate what resonates and blurs boundaries between natural and unnatural occurrences.

The following workshop is available:

Track sonic footprints and create an experiential sound map of obscured ambient noise inspired by John Cage’s experiments with everyday sound. In part one of this two-part workshop, participants make a simple electronic listening device by repurposing the ubiquitous and inexpensive contact microphones (piezos) found in old cellphones, computers, and other devices. In part two, participants discover hidden sounds and contribute to the creation of a unique sound map of Burlington.

Read more about this workshop in press clippings from 2015


 

Staring Back: The Creation and Legacy of Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignon



Title:

Jenn Karson is a project collaborator on this exhibition and created two sound installations for it. Learn more in the exhibition catalog:

Staring Back:  The Creation and Legacy of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon
February 3 – June 21, 2015
Fleming Museum Burlington, Vermont

Opening Reception
Hosted by UVM President Thomas Sullivan,
Fleming Director Janie Cohen, and the Fleming Museum’s Board of Directors
Cash bar, hors d’oeuvres and music
Tuesday February 10, 5:30-7:00 PM

Ideas:

Picasso’s major 1907 painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, created an uproar in the Paris art world and laid the foundation for the development of Cubism. This spring, the Fleming Museum presents an exhibition that explores Picasso’s extraordinary process in creating the painting, through innovative installations and advanced technologies that transform the museum experience. The painting’s ongoing legacy is examined through the work of a diverse group of American, African, and European contemporary artists. While Demoiselles does not travel from its home in the Museum of Modern Art, it will be represented at the Fleming in an unprecedented manner.

Visitors will be introduced to the painting in an environment that evokes Picasso’s studio at the “Bateau Lavoir,” where he first showed Demoiselles to his close friends and colleagues in 1907; their reactions may be heard against a background of ambient sounds that would have echoed through the streets of Montmartre at the time. Augmented reality will enable visitors to view images of Picasso’s studies for the individual figures and the full composition in the context of the painting, and to understand its evolution.

Picasso found inspiration for Demoiselles in art history and contemporary visual culture. Through a variety of new visual technologies, visitors will understand how he synthesized and transformed these diverse sources – from Iberian, African, Oceanic, and Egyptian art to Baroque painting, Cezanne’s and Gauguin’s work, and colonial photographers’ images of African women – to launch a radically new artistic vocabulary.

The largest section of the exhibition highlights the continuing pull of the painting – over 100 years after its creation – as evidenced in the work of international artists, including Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Gerri Davis, Damian Elwes, Julian Friedler, Kathleen Gilje, Carlo Maria Mariani, Sophie Matisse, Stas Orlovski, and Jackson Tupper.

STARING BACK was conceived and curated by Janie Cohen, Director of the Fleming Museum of Art. The exhibition is informed by the work of numerous Picasso scholars, including Cohen, who has published on Picasso for over thirty years and whose new research on anthropometric-style colonial African photography and Demoiselles will be published in the journal Photography and Culture in March, 2015. Cohen’s project collaborators are Coberlin Brownell, Assistant Professor, Emergent Media Program at Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont; and Jenn Karson, Sound Artist; Lecturer, UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; and Founder, Vermont Makers, Burlington, Vermont.

Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Endowment Fund; the Walter Cerf Exhibitions Fund; Rolf Kielman and Stephanie Spencer; TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design; Kimberley Adams, M.D., and Mark Depman, M.D.; Neil and Ursula Owre Masterson ’89; the Offices of the President and the Provost at the University of Vermont; and the Fleming Contemporary Art Fund.

 

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE. IGNORE THIS MESSAGE!

In the public square scattered cell phone “bell” alerts dot the city soundscape ringing from pockets, bags and café tables. This image shows an iphone with alerts set to bells.

Title:

Your Attention Please! Ignore this Message

When and Where:

Exhibited as part of Break It! Build It! at the Burlington City Arts Gallery, July 25, 2014 – September 13, 2014

Ideas:

This installation is inspired by an earlier work, the Firehouse Bell Project.

Despite major shifts in technology, bells continue to serve as cultural signifiers in the public square. A bell like the one atop this firehouse remains part of the built environment even though it no longer rings. Next door at City Hall a bell recording plays on the hour through an amplifier, no physical bell required. Scattered cell phone “bell” alerts dot the city soundscape ringing from pockets, bags and café tables.

Within the lifetime of current Burlington residents, civic bells like the Firehouse Bell communicated singular messages that found meaning in community, time and place.
By contrast in 2014 bells and alerts from personalized media sustain a persistent sonic layer of anytime–anyplace messages. While these messages are not meant for us they demand our attention.

Your Attention Please! Ignore this Message explores the cultural shift from public bells to private bells through Malcolm McCullough’s definition of the Ambient Commons. It is a reflection on how (and perhaps increasingly so) our sensory field comes from and refers to someplace else.

Installation Experience:

Ubiquitous cell phone alerts that reference bells were amplified in the gallery through ceiling speakers. Private alerts based on an individual’s schedule were played publicly. The installation Your Attention Please! Ignore this Message brings attention to the continued sounding of bells in the public square, despite major shifts in what we consider public and private and the blurring lines between the common digital and physical spaces we share.

Listen

Cell Phone Bells:  This short clip includes “chimes”, “bell”, “bell tower”, and “door bell”.

VT Libraries Transform into Maker Spaces in 2014

Contact: Erica Houskeeper,  Erica.Houskeeper@uvm.edu802-498-5495

Vermont Libraries to Transform into Maker Spaces This Summer
UVM CEMS supporting development of library STEAM programs

The University of Vermont is supporting the development of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts + Math) programs for Vermont public libraries this summer.

Fourteen public libraries from Craftsbury to Charlotte to Castleton will offer summer maker workshops for K-12 students as part of the new “Vermont Makers and Libraries: Sparking a Culture of Innovation” project. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Vermont Department of Libraries, Vermont Makers, the University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Vermont Library Association and CMF Innovations.

“By teaching and sharing technical literacy, we can help empower students through valuable and fun learning experiences,” said Jennifer Karson, founder of Vermont Makers and instructor with the University of Vermont FabLab at the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. “The project encourages individual creativity, collaboration and lifelong learning.”

The three-hour workshops will be held June 25 to Aug. 9 and will be taught by local educators trained by Karson. The libraries are each offering two of the five modules: Creative Creatures, Squishy Circuits, Toy Hacking, E-Origami and E-textiles. Participants will learn how to use digital and physical tools to help strengthen their deductive reasoning, logical thinking and problem-solving skills.

A $20,000 Vermont Community Foundation Innovations and Collaborations Grant and a $5,000 grant from UVM CEMS are helping to fund the program. UVM CEMS is providing space for the train-the-trainer workshops for educators as part of the Vermont Engineering Initiative, and the Vermont Department of Libraries is helping coordinate and implement the program in libraries around the state.

“The maker movement is alive and well in Vermont, and like the rest of the nation, public libraries are an important player in providing opportunities to engage in these hands-on creation programs,” said State Librarian Martha Reid of the Vermont Department of Libraries. “I love the ways that maker programs can foster intergenerational learning, introduce novices and experts alike to technology and STEM, and promote teamwork and collective problem-solving.”

Modeled after hacker spaces, a maker space is a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests, learn to use tools and materials and develop creative projects. In recent years, libraries across the country have embraced the trend to create maker spaces for communities.

Librarian Susan O’Connell of the Craftsbury Public Library, who was instrumental in getting the summer program off the ground, said she first witnessed the power of maker spaces at the Champlain Valley Maker Faire two years ago.

“As a librarian and teacher, too often I see children’s scientific curiosity extinguished when science is taught as a set of facts to memorize without the thrill of exploration and discovery,” she said. “At the Champlain Valley Maker Faire, people of all ages were experimenting with trajectory with a pumpkin-chucking trebuchet, learning how to solder, and watching electricity play along a tesla coil. People were trying, sharing and exploring new ideas, and kids were incredibly excited.”

O’Connell said the idea was also inspired by the Collaborative Summer Library Program, which creates programs and activities designed to encourage children to learn and read during the summer. This summer’s theme is science.

Communities participating in the initiative include Bennington, Barre, Charlotte, Craftsbury, Castleton, Fairfax, Groton, Jericho, Poultney, Quechee, Richford, Warren, Westford and Williston.

“Our goal is to make it possible for children who might not have access to this kind of programming in rural areas to engage in fun, hands-on activities and discover how science works in everyday life,” O’Connell said. “While all of the participants might not become scientists, they’ll be better prepared to thrive in our technological world.”

For more information and a list of participating libraries, visit http://steam-e-zine.com/index.php/spark-a-culture-of-innovation.

Two images are available for download (courtesy of Vermont Engineering Initiative), one of educators training for the Toy Hacking STEAM program and an image of a toyToy Hacking is one of the STEAM and Maker programs offered this summer in Vermont public libraries. Download the images here: http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmpr/images/high_res/STEAM/

Trends in Rapid Prototyping Tools + FabLabs

Thank you to the American Institute of Architects – Vermont for the invitation to speak at the recent ACX 2014 Architecture and Construction Expo. It was a fantastic and dynamic day of discussion!

It was long overdue to bring local architects into the conversation of “making” in Vermont and the conference served as the perfect opportunity to get the conversation started. I hope to see many of you again at the Neri Oxman talk this fall at UVMFollow this link for more information about the Neri Oxman event.

Here’s what we talked about on June 6 at ACX 2014: