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New optical hybrid computer/ synth
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author New optical hybrid computer/ synth
MrsWedge
Mrs Wedge has a baby!
Took about 1.5 years from the initial idea to get to this:



It's patched entirely with 2mm fiber optic cable



With the exception of the half sized boards in center columns, it's built with stacks of 100mm x 70mm smt boards. Right now, it's 4 identical voices:



From the upper left - A dual 4 bit digital to analog converter, a dual 8 level ladder type analog to digital converter, an analog cv processor/ synth (2 modules), a 2 bit ALU and a toggle switch board. There is an led underneath every black bushing and a sensor under ever white one.



The center columns have the external io stuff. There are 2 sequencer interfaces at the bottom with attack/decay & neutron emulation circuits, a 4 channel optical to cv converter, an 8 channel com port mux and a simple 8 bit control sequencer. The com port mux has a usb connection, allowing a single device to send 9600 baud commands to up to 8 devices over the fiber optics.

Check out MrsWedge on YouTube for bad cell phone video. The bright blinking lights really confuse my camera.
frankbuss
Cool, found your video:



I like the idea of using just LEDs and sensors mounted underneath the bushings. So you are using analog light levels over fiber?

What sensor do you use? Standard LEDs can switch faster than 100 ns, so you could transfer digital signals with more than 10 MHz, which is sufficient for a high samplerate S/PDIF connection.
MrsWedge
http://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2126947784241083&id=1000077 76465786&ref=bookmarks
MrsWedge
The ability to transmit/receive digital audio over fiber optic cable has existed since the very early days of CD players/transports. I believe the original motivation was to provide complete power supply/ground isolation between the transport and all of its motors and digital noise and the more sensitive dac and associated audio circuitry. This was one of the big motivations behind my design - complete electrical isolation between modules. However, even the fastest, most sensitive visible frequency 21st century planar smt photodiode is still slow as shit when compared to any old-school IR one. I wanted to make something that was visually interesting, so IR was out, which lead to some comprises.
kcd06
It occurs to me that if UV frequencies had been used instead of IR, there are a great many materials that respond/florescent in human visual spectrum. Regardless, very cool (sorry, failed my save vs bad pun...) project and execution
luchog
kcd06 wrote:
It occurs to me that if UV frequencies had been used instead of IR, there are a great many materials that respond/florescent in human visual spectrum. Regardless, very cool (sorry, failed my save vs bad pun...) project and execution


Problem is that shorter-period waves have a much lower efficiency when transmitted in any light-pipe, especially one that is not perfectly straight. For efficient transmission, especially if there is any curvature, you need longer-period wavelengths to minimize losses through the glass/glass or glass/air interface.
ellistronics.usa
this is awesome man. 1000 times more interesting than everyone buying maths and braids and posting instagram pics of their 'modular setup'
MrsWedge
Hey Thanks!
The code for the gate sequencer is pretty much finished. I can write simple scripts for it to chain patterns, roll & invert the display, change the clock speed & source and a few other things. Here is a simple demo using the lower 4 gates to drive 2 adcs locked in feedback loops with a single synth/cv processor

http://youtu.be/YWdaidFe5Hs

Next, I added an ALU and dual ladder adc in another feedback loop

http://youtu.be/kA0_Gu7QTFc

It's really neat how simple gate inputs can be turned into something interesting sounding with with the use of multiple feedback loops and not much circuitry. The optics makes any kind of feedback possible.
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