The Walkman that makes music from sounds around you

Noah Vawtner is a junior Music Thing hero. He was part of the team who created the Chiclet DSP synth, the PSP Kick drum machine and other cool stuff like the 1 Bit Groove Box. He's just finishing his masters at MIT, and his thesis project was Ambient Addition, a Walkman-sized box with headphones and a microphone. It takes the sound from the microphone and turns it into (roughly) music - putting all the background noise through a vocoder/resonator which is running a chord sequence, and sampling and looping percussive sounds to make drum tracks. Yes, you have to watch the video to make much sense of it, but it's a fantastic idea. (thanks Brian)


Comments:
I know it's not cool to say "ooh, I've sort of thought of doing something similar to that", especially when somebody else actually went ahead and did it -- so I'll keep my mouth shut. ;)
 
Yeah, you'll find that any number of other people also thought of something similar but did not get around to doing it for any number of reasons, some lame, some reasonable. Life's like that.

-Jason [another of those people... but trying to become more of a maker, less of a reader-abouter :-/ ]
 
That's why I didn't technically say it, so much as sort of hinting that I could say it.
 
Hey, there's always room to take an idea and continue to develop it. Look at the number of synthesizers we have. Don't be discouraged; interesting piece from this month's Make that suggested, basically, we shouldn't let blogs keep us from realizing our own DIY ideas.
 
The 2-yearly Dutch Electronic Art Festival ( DEAF, by V2 organisation ), which is held in Rotterdam ( and def. worth checking out ! it will be around april 2007 again ) had a "similar" installation whereby visitors could put on a headset and walk across town. All environmental sounds were wickedly dsp-processed. Unfortunately I cannot recall the artists name. Anyways, keep an eye on the festival, it has had numerous of mindblowing installations which I could, but won't describe here. ( http://deaf.v2.nl/ )
 
I hope people don't walk into construction sites and get themselves killed "searching for interesting sounds".
 
Noah does more interesting stuff before breakfast than many people do in their entire lives... I've known him for years, and have always been impressed by how weirdly creative he is. I'm just impressed he managed to get somebody to give him a degree for it...

Check this out:

http://web.media.mit.edu/~nvawter/number6/audioBoard/index.html
 
Peter Kirn: great comment/point. And everyone who had a similar idea probably didn't have the *exact same* idea.

In my ideal version of this, the sounds could be quantized somehow, but I don't know that that's feasible in realtime.

I wouldn't normally comment on the word verification graphic, but I just have to immortalize this one: "qumpy".
 
They should really install and use LaTeX at MIT Media Lab...
 
Not to be a total killjoy, but Tony Dunne (of Design group Dunne & Raby www.dunneandraby.co.uk) designed a device called the Noiseman whilst working for Sony in the nineties. It processed ambient sounds instead of playing tapes...

Heres a link to an article about them which features a small piece on the Noiseman.

http://www.icon-magazine.co.uk/issues/022/dunneraby.htm
 
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