Volle Band – scooter expedition ‘dus niet brommen’ + measuring proximity

With media bicycle project Volle Band we are currently doing a residency at STEIM. During this residency we are focusing on two things:

- developing a method to measure the proximity from one bicycle to another. We are investigating a combination of Xbee modules – tiny radio frequency modules – and ultrasonic sound – high frequency sound generators which one normally uses to drive mice, insects and other animals insane.

- we are working on our scooter radioplay expedition ‘dus niet brommen’, which we will present at the Urban Explorers Festival in collaboration with art initiative Noordkaap. During this scooter expedition the audience is riding along with 10 brave, young scooter guides. Sitting at the back of these scooters they listen to a radioplay which is being broadcasted live from the central radio scooter (recognizable by its huge antenna). In this radioplay the sounds and movements of the scooters influence the various sounds of the radioplay. Using piezo’s, FM transmitters and computers with wifi connections on the scooters the scooter sounds are transferred to the central radio scooter. Sitting at the back of this central scooter I mix and adapt the sounds to the various locations and send them into the ether.

First week

We did some experiments with Xbee modules which were quite succesful. We walked around outside and inside with Xbee modules connected to our laptops. Inside the Xbee modules do not work that well because the radio waves bounce back from the walls. But outside they work quite nicely within a range of about 50 metres. Actually these are the first sensors we use that work better outside then inside…

For the scooter expedition we found a very nice Stentor FM transmitter. We made an antenna and now we can broadcast our scooter radio programme in a range of a kilometre. Furthermore we worked on the power supplies for the electronic devices on the scooters.

Second week

We are running into quite some problems with the power supplies. The situation is a bit stressful since we have only 1,5 week to make it work. The PandaBoards we are using for the project are now – fortunately – way more stable and performance wise efficient thanks to the brand new linux distribution which Didier put on them. Sjoerd has been working on sound design for the radio play.

Down here you can listen to a sound preview – all sounds except the male voice are being triggered and influenced by scooters.

You can check out a tv item about ‘dus niet brommen’ down here:

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