Ferromagnetic Input Device (with ball bearings!)

An interesting project from Microsoft Research that uses an array of magnetic sensors to allow the detection of “any ferrous object placed on or near its surface”. The BeatBearing is referenced (in the paper below) as a possible future application, which would allow the sensing of object above the surface, and other properties such as rotation of the ball bearings. Both of these features would open up a whole lot of new possibilities!

Paper link: A Reconfigurable Ferromagnetic Input Device – Microsoft Research

Video link: YouTube


3 Month Review


Have completed my 3 month review. You can download the full pdf file from: www.petecube.com/blog/documents/3-month-review.pdf This sums up my current research proposal, and lays out a very rough plan of what I need to do over the next year. More exciting is the new title for the research. The old one was”Techniques for analysis of multi-modal sensor data for gestural control systems.” The latest version is:

“Multi-modal Interaction Design Techniques for Musical Interfaces”

This is a lot more general, so hopefully it will cover whatever research I end up doing over the next three years!

Edge-trimmer prototype#2



Ok, here’s the first real prototype of the edge-trimmer, which is a little more solidly constructed than the chair leg version… It currently isn’t hooked up to make any noise, although it has been tested with an unmodulated damping force. It’s pretty heavy, so it looks like it may have to be used in a similar manner as a cello and rest on the ground or a convenient table. As it doesn’t have a built in resonance chamber, a table would be useful in amplifying the sound produced.

record spinning interface



Just started a prototype of a new interface. A ‘Shake’ device containing accelerometers, magnetometers, bluetooth and capacitive sensors is strapped to the center of a 10″ record, allowing the user to perform vertical wireless scratching… At the moment the angle of rotation is computed as shown in the animation, but currently this isn’t hooked up to the circular sound-wave shown above. More to follow soon.

‘Edge-trimmer’ prototype


A very very rough prototype of a new instrument which may resemble an edge-trimmer has been made. So far this consists of an ergonomic handle (not a chair-leg!) connected to a magneto-rheological-fluid brake controlled by an Arduino board. Basically, the brake is switched on and off rapidly causing the handle to vibrate when pushed back and forth. A potentiometer connected to the Arduino allows the user to simultaneously change the frequency of the pulses, and hence the pitch of the note produced.
The next step is to attach two real handles, so the user can use both hands.

mind map


Have been learning to use GraphViz to create a research mind-map. So far I’ve only produced a small map, which isn’t particularly useful. Hopefully when the map grows to giant proportions, it will prove to be a good representation of my research interests…