PIFproject #2: Prototyping Workshop by Michael Page


When designing something an inevitable stage in its development is prototyping, making a physical version of the scribbles in your notebook. This can be both fun and frustrating! The workshop will be an opportunity to discuss and demonstrate practical prototyping techniques (deciphering schematics, using breadboard, prototype board and PCB design) and talk about strategies to evaluate a prototypes success.

After a bit of this, if we are feeling brave we can attempt
… from the mythical “bag of currently unfulfilled possibility” you pick a dusty old microchip.  Your quest is to research what the chip can do then design and build a creative device (possibly an audio application, but not necessarily). You might get something with an obvious use like a 555 for an oscillator. However you might get something fiendishly boring that you really have to struggle to make funky. You can use whatever other components you need but the IC you pick has to perform the main operation of the device. If enough of these little silicon embryo’s struggle into life we could assimilate them all together into a freaky lunetta system. Hopefully we will learn something about prototyping and how different ICs work.
I think the task would be all the more noble if the ICs come from the dankest corners of the worlds weirdest workshops, and so if you have time dig deep in your junk for those logic chips you have never used or op-amps or whatever you think might be fun. Oh and I have a prize for the most inventive device!

PIFproject #1 announced!


Peter Edwards (Casper Electronics) and Václav Pelousek (Bastl Instruments) join forces to bring modular synthesis out of the studio and into Trenta park for PIFcamp. This project will give participants access to a simple but powerful set of building blocks which can be used to create interactive systems that control sound, light, motors and more. Participants will learn about the basics of analog and digital engineering while creating unique interfaces and experiences to share with others and integrate into the PIFcommunity.

The focus of our joined workshops is to provide simple but solid (and cheap!) building blocks to interface electronics with the outside world. On one side we have input conditioning for various types of sensors and on the other we have motors and physical actuators to modify the physical world. All interfacing can be done in the methodology of modular synthesis since all building blocks use control voltage as a common language. The format we will be using to interact with the building blocks is the electronics breadboard. It will be used for configuring internal connections but also to provide a mechanical base for creating solid objects. We will both work with participants to help them build functional systems throughout the week while also a holding a few group exercises and open lectures on basic electrical theory and coding practice. Václav on his own would like to focus on creating mechanical sequencers to run musical circuits (river / wind sequencer etc.). Peter will be focusing on musical applications of this system but is also eager to explore how light and electromechanical objects can be utilized to create audio/visual installations.

Since our building block will be breadboard based it will be very easy to combine this project with any other electronics project at the PIFcamp. We are eager to see how this project can be integrated into and activated by the greater PIFcommunity.