Alternate Text
Our Titular Hero

Chapter 1: Locked Away

A contact microphone leads a lonely existence. While other sensors are free to move around and explore the world, the contact microphone is doomed to stay stationary to fulfill its purpose of playing audio vibrations of objects through contact. This is the story of Pieza, the loneliest little contact microphone, and its dream to break free from its shackles and fulfill its ultimate desire: to become the star of its very own interactive music system.

Chapter 2: Piezos Make Plans, God Laughs

Pieza’s dream involved being able to live loop its inputs. The plan was to have four different buffers that Pieza could record into using Pure Data in order to create a beat from scratch. Pieza would of course be free roaming in the system, so the user has free reign over what noises they can make with the contact microphone, including tapping and scraping along surfaces. Also, an element of sound manipulation must be present, with the ability to change the reverb amount in order to different different sounds so the end loop has distinct layers that people could pick out.

Chapter 3: Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Of course, any great escape can’t be done without a little help from some friends. Pieza enlisted a crack team of rogue agents, including a rotary potentiometer, a button, and two LEDs to help in its journey towards freedom, each with a special set of skills. The rotary potentiometer will set the amount of reverb placed on the contact microphone’s input. The button will trigger the recording of the contact microphone with a simple press. The LEDs, sometimes known as “the twins,” each serve their own purpose toward the mission. The yellow LED will turn on after pressing the button and stay on for the duration of the recording period to indicate when the user should stop playing. The red LED will flash according to the tempo, which was set to 120 BPM, so the user knows at what speed they should be playing.

Chapter 4: To Freedom!

At midnight on the night of a full moon (ignore the daylight in the video, Hollywood special effects) the team finally assembled to put their plan into action. View the results of their efforts below.

Contact Mic Looper Performance

For the curious, view the blueprints of the escape below.

circuit diagram
Contact Mic Looper Circuit Diagram

Chapter 5: And They Lived Happily Ever After

And so Pieza and the Gang celebrated through the night on their successful getaway. Pieza went on to have a long and luxurious life in the music business like it always dreamed, but tragically passed away after the circuit was dismantled by a cruel MCT student. What have we learned from this tale? No matter what your situation is, no matter how small you feel, no matter how hopeless the situation is, you too can waste your life writing about anthropomorphic piezo discs overcome the odds and become the hero in your own story.


You can view the Pure Data file for this project here.