Bitsphere's Weblog

… a bitart weblog


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Musical Biosensor by Marco Donnarumma

note_symbolIn the recent days Bitsphere did some hardware assembling due to the great open source work of Marco Donnarumma called x-th sense. An open hardware project which aims to amplify muscle sounds. The local hardware distributor here in Switzerland offered all the pieces need for the assembly except the “protokit” mentioned in the xth-sense documentation and the sensor is build in less than an afternoon by a newbee to hardware assembling for the on-line documentation is really detailed.

Bitsphere replaced the protokit with a “Hammond Manufactoring 1593KBK Handheld Box”, sawed a piece out of an epoxy fibre-glass labor card (the RE523-LF by Roth Elektronik) which fits in the box and screwed it into the box. That is about the pieces the original kit consists of.

To get the software running was the harder part. It was not that easy to get the required version of puredata extended. Finally it turned out there is a repository for the beta builds with the required versions. Then the directory names mentioned in the x-th sense how-to have to be created on the local disk the very same.

For those interested in readings about body sounds you find an article about biomusic in the Journal of Sonic Studies.


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Fresh ideas with old technology

Recently Bitsphere worked for the oneminute video 2012 which is entirely coded in c++ and not java as in the last years (click here for all the past oneminute animations). To tame the x-windows system many man pages needed to be consulted. A lot of them were last updated sometimes in the nineties.

Clearly technology for applications like twitter or pinterest existed long before the applications appeared but time seems to have to move forward the slowly evolving ways of thinking in symbiosis with the advancing technology. New forms of aesthetic expression always are  found with older medias. Just think of all drummers and singers! Compared to them it looks all reasonable to produce state of the art applications with technology from the last century. And it works that way. Many devices are programmed today in programing languages older than ten years. For example the android phone system.

Bitsphere’s video engine in c++ has the same functionality as the former one in java but is faster and has easier access to libraries that around there in the web. So it get rid of all the bridge libraries like jjack or j4v4l.

So what do you vote for? New art only by new tech or do you find other developments bringing fresh ideas? Let us know in the comment section!


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Mathematical simple colours in programming and webdesign

Working on the oneminute video 2011 once more some quick colour decisions had to be made while programming. Sometimes just to test or to highlight a new feature of the video engine. Most of you doing programming or web design must have been in the same situation.

Some colours seems to come easier since they follow a certain pattern. Talking about hex colour codes the basic group is 0xff0000, 0x00ff00 and 0x0000ff which shows:


This colours are chosen quickly and every experienced programmer knows the result. A similar simple group build the two colors 0x000000 and 0xffffff which shows:

This may be no breaking news for you. But do you sometimes make part of the community which choose this colours when it comes to a quick decision?

There are other groups of colours beside the fundamental colours. When gray is needed the most simple choice would be 0x777777:

But the mathematical middle in between 0x000000 and 0xffffff is 0x7f7f7f which is also simple to type but slightly different:

When it comes to colours there are many different colours available which are simple to type: The next picture shows a gradient with the colours 0x1111ff, 0x2222ff, 0x4444ff, 0x8888ff, 0xaaaaff:

There are other colours which are chosen in sake of the numbers instead of a colour model. How about 0xabcdef or 0xfedcba?

Do you recognise some of the mentioned colour codes? And what colour codes do you choose when it comes to testing or quick decisions? Please post them in the comment section and with your help there will be a picture illustrating the comments on this blog soon!


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Augmented reality and psychic augmented reality

There are several activities going on in a field named “Augmented Reality” (see http://newcurator.com/2009/06/mobile-ar/ via http://kulturmanagement.wordpress.com/?s=Augmented+Reality (in German). Although it takes longer to adjust the cam of the mobile phone to a bar code or QR code than to type the available data with the keys of the cell phone, it is a step on the way to a smarter surrounding. If this trend is going on there might be a bigger change in the way we share information.

Link to QR generator from kaywa.com as QR code

Link to QR generator from kaywa.com as QR code

Although technology is  not yet far driven in this field, there is already an interaction between the real and the virtual world. User bring their experience during a long working day or a long gaming night in front of virtual system to their real life. There are so many computer worker and gamer out there and their perception of the virtual reality they stare at working and playing is not switched of when they leave their machines. They see, hear, sort and judge the real world as they are used to do the virtual one. And so our world becomes day per day a little more augmented.

This is not because technologies becomes more sophisticated, but because humans become more technological. As comic magazines started to spread, the phenomena of expressing ones feelings in “yeas” and “orks” became popular. Nowadays people overwhelmed of a beautiful landscape can be heard saying: “What a great graphic!”


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Adding sound to the oneminute video

Beside the visual part of the video, sound is a important factor. The sound accompaniment of the cubes film are noises which fade in and out when the cubes becomes visible and vanish. The sounds are distributed on the left and right side as the clouds of cubes are. This means they are switching synchronously from left to right and vice versa when the cubes rotate around the center of the screen.

The noises for the oneminute video are generated with a java class which writes down the body of a .wav file. With the freeware tool “Audacity” the files are imported as raw data. After arranging the sounds with “Audacity” they are exported as proper .wav files.

The very powerful command line tool “ffmpeg” allows to mix the video and the sound down to a complete movie. “ffmpeg” allows converting from one format to another. Sure a format will be found to deliver the video to the oneminute team.

Below you see a first mix of sound and vision. As you notice only the blue clouds have sound associated with.