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    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
    I can't believe it only just dawned on me to share this now, but my friend John Bowers has an ongoing project "to build a musical instrument boasting the kinds of parts and capabilities traditional synthesizers have (oscillators, filters, amplitude envelopes, modulation) but using techniques known to the Victorians."
    (Click through for a blog post that talks about it briefly.)

    If any one is interested I can try to post more about it as he progresses.
    He also has a piece in Hack 'n Snack (Ignivomous) where he provides a recipe for constructing a very basic one.
  1.  (458.2)
  2.  (458.3)
    Thats really interesting. It's always great to see music from a totally new angle. Wonder if it'll catch on...

    You, uh... you reckon he'll make to order? I have about thrupence to my name.
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
    @screaming meat - Heh. I could ask him, but I'm pretty certain he'd just tell you to build your own. Buy him a few drinks though, and he'll go on for hours about what new options he's thought up for it. Certainly worth it if you're thinking of building one... also worth it even if you aren't going to build one but you enjoy music nerdery.

    He's recently built his own version of the dream machine, which is pretty cool.
    Actually, I'm creating an artificial neural network that will perform with him (on guitar) and the dream machine. How's that for a weird combination of things across the technological spectrum?
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
    that is just too cool.

    @ Vanessa: you rock, and are probably made of pure awesome.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
    Does the Telharmonium count as a synth?

    Telharmonium Rotor
  3.  (458.7)
    Oh, that is an excellent post you link to, Vanessa, thank you. I have been thinking along some related lines, and this is inspirational. I build dreamachines, too: that picture of the red-lit one against the brick on the wikipedia entry you link to? I took that picture of one of my dreamachines.
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008

    Hot damn, that's hip. You guys should tour and come to UVic.
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2008 edited
    @warrenellis - I told him you said so. He has mailed me back to say: "insightful! it is ooooh-ish!" Which means he's excited and glad that you like it.

    @nexus - Thanks, that's really sweet of you to say. Although if the sound of me moving around is any indication I'm actually made of dry twigs and rubber bands. And probably not even the sexy kind.

    @stefanj - Nice! Well, John thinks it counts (I do too, but who am I really when it comes to this particular thing). The telharmonium uses early telephony technology both to generate and distribute its sound so you could argue that it's an actual Victorian Victorian synthesizer.
    John says he regards Cahill as an anticipatory plagarist of his work.
    .... yeah ... I don't hang out with him for the jokes really.

    @steveburnett - Oh, very cool! When John gets around to making dreamachine stuff for youtube, I'll try to remember to post it so you can check it out and compare.

    @Fractal - Hey, you! How are things? You need a blog or something so I can see what you're up to.You need to add an RSS feed to your site because I want to spy on you periodically, but I'm very lazy. I like Victoria .... does UVic have funding to bring in music nerds on tour?
    We do have a concert lined up for the very beginning of February in Stockholm. John will be on stage being the happy showboat. I will be skulking in the background somewhere nervously hoping my network-baby doesn't fall and twist it's ankle .... and explode.

    John asks that I send all the people of the internet the following links, and so I have:

    And now I'm done with all the John says-ing. I have to be able to work with him and I don't want my playing messenger to get to his head. Heh.
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    A neural interface? I have no idea how that would work. Is that even possible (forgive the innocence on the matter)? If it is I'll buy a round.
  5.  (458.11)
    @screaming meat, here is one example of a neural interface for music.

    Because Vanessa wrote she's "creating an artificial neural network" I think she's doing something completely different to this link's example, but I thought this was an interesting link nonetheless.
    • CommentAuthoreggzoomin
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2008 edited
    It's starting to become possible, slowly. There was an experiment I read about recently where they sank electrodes into the areas of some sort of primate's brain that control movement of the arms and ran the other end to a robotic arm; relatively quickly, the primate made the link that when it moved its arm, the robotic arm moved in kind. Not long after, the primate realised it could just control the robot arm without needing to move its meat arm and duly did so. Mine's an orange juice with ice, please.

    Edit: steveburnett beat me by two minutes - just checked hs link and that is, if you'll forgive the muso pun, mindlblowing.
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2008
    @screaming meat - No, no neural interfaces in this stuff. The idea is for the network to be a separate entity that you can jam with. It responds to audio and visual data coming in, and it retrains in the process of the performance leading to new directions for the human performers to respond to.
    Or something like that. We'll see how it goes.

    There is neural interface work being done, like steveburnett and eggzoomin have mentioned.

    There are a few places doing work with EEG hats and people, like here:
    Berlin Brain-Computer Interface
    (Although I would like to state for the record that everytime I see a place that says man-machine interface instead of something like human-machine interface, it annoys the hell out of me. It just sounds stupid and inaccurate. I mean what is this, original star trek? Harumph.)
  6.  (458.14)
    @Steveburnett - thats like every artist/musicians dream (or at least a baby step toward) of being able to lay the song/composition straight from brain to instrument. Damn...

    @eggzoomin - Thats still pretty freaky. You'll have to show me photo ID before I start buying :)

    @Vanessa - Thats also an interesting idea. Are we talking basic AI or is it a series of routines?

    This is why I like this site: stuff I didn't think was even possible becomes... well, possible. Thanks to y'all.
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2008
    @screaming meat - By basic AI do you mean classical AI? If so, no. Artificial neural networks are from the branch of AI known as Connectionism.
    I try to explain that a little in this thread over here.
    But I'm happy to answer questions if that doesn't tell you what you were looking to know.
  7.  (458.16)
    Argh. Thread won't open...
    • CommentTimeJan 10th 2008
    A piece on newscientist with a bunch of links to articles about brain-machine interfaces, and addressing an interesting issue:
    Physically disabled people must be able to switch on brain-computer interfaces without external help if the futuristic devices are to give them greater freedoms, say researchers beginning to study the little-addressed problem.
    Subjects in their trials produced the spikes by breathing rapidly for a short period, while software compared their heart rate to one recorded at rest.

    Despite my horrible desire for many bad puns (change of heart, you can breathe easy once its on, etc), it's a nice idea and could be poetic in the right hands...

    @screaming meat - It was the We Make Robots Feel Pain thread. Maybe you can get to it by scanning the Mad Science section.
  8.  (458.18)
    And at last I get what we were talking about in the Market last night!
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2008
    my attention, you have it.
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2008
    I think I may have found a new favorite thread. Now I'll go look at all the links again and let the musical nerdiness wash over me for a second time...