The artistic challenge that the Touch Board and Electric Paint helped Aaron solve was creating something that was interactive and sound-based, with little upfront knowledge of coding. The accessibility of the Touch Board and Arduino coding has provided an excellent opportunity for Aaron to use this in an art project.
A Drum Machine Powered by the Bare Conductive Touch Board
What do you get when you combine a retro arcade booth with a drum machine? You get a Touch Board powered Big Dum Drum Machine!
Aaron Artrip wanted to create an interactive, visual beat machine that drew people in with the nostalgia of arcade gaming, while simultaneously providing visual feedback that showed them what they heard while they played.
Artist, Inventor and Musician, Aaron Artrip presented The Big Drum Drum Machine for a Public Projects proposal that was accepted by the curatorial team hosting AQUA ART Miami, an art fair hosted during Miami Basel.
The Big Dum Drum Machine was inspired by busy nights in an arcade, standing around a booth and watching the action unfold. It uses the Bare Conductive Electric Paint and the Touch Board to create an interactive interface, triggering sounds. These triggered sounds are then visualized through a modified CRT Television set.
The major strength of the Touch Board and conductive paint is the ease and accessibility of designing and implementing unique interfaces. Aaron used his background in printmaking to his advantage and he screen printed the design of the controller surface.
To connect it to the Touch Board, he attached a metal bolt and nut system with wires that ran down to the bottom of the arcade booth.
He them programmed the Touch Board using Arduino IDE and used the Midi_interface_generic.ino sketch that comes with the Touch Board (one of the real strengths of going this route as opposed to a generic MPR 121 and/or generic Arduino).
From here, he used the MIDI commands from the live interactive controller surface to send MIDI data into Ableton Live software, where he created a custom drum set of electronic drum sounds.
The Big Dum Drum Machine succeeded in providing a playful and inviting opportunity for audiences to make their own drum beats, while also having a visual element to inform them of the sounds they are hearing. Many people shared their similar experience of being able to perform on this Big Dum Drum Machine. The touch-based interface was perfect for every human’s innate desire to bang on a hard surface to create rhythms, Aaron’s creation taking it a step further.
In the busy environment of an art fair, the Drum Machine kept up with the pace and provided people with a unique and engaging experience with both audio and visuals.