BONAPARTE – 40°42’48.46 N 73°58’18.38 by JUL & MAT
Based on the track: “BONAPARTE – 40°42’48.46 N 73°58’18.38 W”
Directed by JUL & MAT.
Robotic & video edit by PETER COCTEAU.
Filmed summer 2012 in PARIS, France.
During one month, I’ve built and programmed the robotic installation shown here. I used ten LEGO motors (NXT and old ones), three NXT (which are the LEGO computers seen at beginning of video), and two Hitechnic SuperPro Boards. I use the Hitechnic boards to control the lights and make good NXT synchronization (by using Fast I2C communication). [Ed.: That refers to I2C, a means of connecting devices by way of serial connection, often used in embedded electronics.] Hitechnic is a manufacturer of LEGO-compatible electronics and robotics.
I first inspected all the music parts in the song by using Apple’s Logic Studio, and reproduced [the parts] in the NXT-G program. This robotic installation really plays the song from start to end.
Peter Cocteau’s NXT-606, an 8-bit, sample-based drum machine built on LEGO’s Mindstorms prototyping platforming, has already been making the geek blog rounds.
- Brilliant, minimal design: Peter cleverly consolidates controls on two knobs, as seen in the new video, without requiring laborious menu navigation or making multiple functions of those knobs confusing. Some major manufacturers could learn something from the efficiency of the design here.
- Friendly housing: Apple’s 80s-model computer designs were a model of making case designs friendly and approachable. We’ve rarely seen that “read” as well with musical instruments. Here, a combination of slick LEGO parts and clever layout get that feeling on an instrument.
- Focused utility: Part of the reason the housing and interface don’t get overwhelming is because the NXT-606 doesn’t try to do too much. It’s just a simple, sampled drum machine and not more, which makes it more drool-worthy, not less.
- Rapid prototyping and visually-developed software. I’d be a little happier with LEGO if the Mindstorms and NXT were more open, but it’s clear to see the advantages of this solution, as well. Check out the rapid, visual programming that went into the software development. There’s plenty that more open projects could learn. (This is doubly exciting after the revelation of the new AppInventor project for Android, though we may have to wait some time before we get to play with that.