Year: 

2013

Designers: 

Ajay Kapur
Korean Digital Bowed Instrument
The Haegum is a two-stringed fiddle-like traditional Korean string instrument. It is played vertically held on the left knee, with a bow scraped against two silk strings with the right hand. It produces a nasal tone and piercing sounds, as it has no finger board and musicians pull the strings to get to the desired pitch. Haegum is traditionally said to be “pal-um-gu-bi (八音具備)” and "bisa-bijuk (非絲非竹)," literally meaning “made with eight materials (metal, rock, thread, bamboo, gourd, soil, leather, and wood)” and "non-string, non-wind." Though in structure and playing method, it looks like a string instrument, in orchestral contexts it is considered to be more like a wind instrument because of its ability to sustain tones. The design of the eHaegum had many challenges. First of all, the Haegum has a very small cavity to install electronics, so the design incorporated the Arduino micro and two small custom built shields to connect the sensors and buttons. A key design element was to encase the electronics in the instrument itself, (rather than have an electronic box off the instrument) so that the eHaegum was easier for a traditional player to just pick up and plug in a USB cable and a TRS cable (rather than some strange assortment of cables leading to a box next to the computer). An accelerometer was installed inside the body of the instrument, and a second accelerometer was installed on the leather strap of the bow. A force-sensing resistor (FSR) was installed to fit underneath the bridge to gather data on how the left hand squeezes the strings while manipulating pitch. A series of buttons and switches were installed into the shell of the instrument to make it easy for the musicians to change patches and settings.

Year: 

2013

Designers: 

Ajay Kapur
The Korean Digital Folk Drum
Janggu is the most widely used instrument for jangdan (rhythmic pattern) among the Korean drum family. It is used in practically every form of Korean music. It consists of an hourglass-shaped body with two heads made from animal skins. The two heads produce sounds of different pitch and timbre, which are believed to represent yin and yang. Different sizes are used for different types of music: A-ak (a large sized version of the Janguu) is used in folk music, while Jeong-ak (a small sized version of the Janggu) is used with dancers, who carry it suspended from one shoulder, held diagonally to their torso. The design of the eJanggu involved many experiments with how the modification would effect the sound the instrument. One major test involved using a laser cutter to construct a custom plug inside the instrument to separate the sound of the left and right cavities to eliminate cross talk from the two microphone installed on either side. It was found, as expected, that this greatly effected the bass response of the instrument. However it did greatly improve the isolation of each microphones as clean signals in the mid-frequency range. Sensors were embedded into the eJanggu in a similar fashion to the eHaegum. Knobs and buttons were embedded directly into the shell of the instrument. Because the Janggu has a much larger cavity, the Arduino MEGA was chosen as the microcontroller with options for many more analog-to-digital converters and digital pins for design. The accelerometer was embedded, so that when the eJanggu was used with a dancing performer, they would get control of 3-axis of acceleration data. Two infrared sensors were installed. This configuration was chosen to capture data about how the Janggu is performed traditionally. There is a technique where the left hand crosses the drum and performs both sticks on the right hand skin. The infrared sensors were installed to sense what direction the hand is moving (left to right , right to left) so that the software can have intelligence on weather both hands are on the right hand skin or if each hand is on either side of the drum.

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