The Digital Pianola is an interactive revival of the classic mechanical pianola design that allows users to compose music from paper and light.
We created a sensor array of 15 LDR's placed opposite an LED array that when exposed to light, would trigger MIDI samples.
This was done using three Arduino boards that converted the LDR signal to MIDI, which was then interpreted in Logic. The array was split in to 3 groups of 5, each group going to a separate Arduino board. These groups were all assigned samples within the same pentatonic scale - as to always give a harmonising composition.
We perforated over 40 metres of print roll paper with a vinyl cutter to enable anyone to interact with the outcome. By picking these perforated dots out of the paper, the user was able to compose a piece of music.
As the paper passed through the sensor array, the dots that had been removed would cause light to shine onto the LDR's and in turn trigger samples within the Logic environment. Within the environment was a bank of samples, each sensor had it's own bank, within which notes were randomised to give variety.
The environment is completely customisable and enables such flexibility as to assign any sound samples required.