As a sound designer and electronics hobbyist, I enjoy developing experimental prototypes that combine different technologies such as microcontrollers, repurposed analog components, piezoelectric sensors and impulse responses, in order to create working prototypes that can later be turned into functional audio products. 

The day I had to propose 3 ideas for my independent project, it was obvious to me that I would create some kind of experimental audio device.

My three proposals were:

  1. A Noise Box that combines experimental acoustic elements with Arduino modules, such as sensors and electric motors while also adding audio effects like reverb, delay, and some modulation effects, as well as a simple waveform generator and lo-fi Arduino based audio sampler.
  1. Sound effects that are based on mechanical rotation. Examples are Hammond’s Vibrato Scanner and DeArmond’s Tremolo Control.
  1. A musical instrument that is made out of used electronics. The proposed idea was to build a Mellotron from used cassette player parts, in which all effects should also be created with magnetic tapes.

After the first meeting with my supervisor, I have decided to go with the third proposal.

The motivation behind this project idea is to experiment with the reuse / repurpose of outdated audio devices and electric instruments. 

As a result of rapid innovation, technologies that were once standards in sound recording and reproduction, became quickly outdated. But what happens to all these appliances?  E-waste is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, estimated at 53.6 million tonnes in 2020.

In order to address this issue, I will investigate existing and possible solutions that allow the repurpose of discarded technologies, into musical instruments and audio effects.

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