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The SoundPuddle is an interactive environment of visual-acoustic synesthesia. Explore the spectrum of sound & unify your eyes and ears. Read more

Boulder, CO Technology
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 9, 2012.

The SoundPuddle is an interactive environment of visual-acoustic synesthesia. Explore the spectrum of sound & unify your eyes and ears.

Boulder, CO Technology
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About this project

The Project

Discovering the SoundPuddle
Discovering the SoundPuddle

The SoundPuddle is an interactive space of visual-acoustic synesthesia. This spectrographically colorful dome creates color from sound, illuminating every noise you make on an immersive canopy of light. You will laugh, shout, and sing as thousands of solar powered LEDs unify your ears and eyes.

An Apogaea 2012 Art Grant provided initial seed money for the SoundPuddle project. After a wonderful experience at Apogaea, it's time to push the SoundPuddle forward so we can continue to develop and share it with the world.

The Experience

Playing with the SoundPuddle
Playing with the SoundPuddle

The SoundPuddle is a space for exploring and playing with the spectrum of sound. Like a rudimentary holodeck, it's an interactive virtual environment. The light patterns of the SoundPuddle are visualizations of the sound spectrum heard through its microphone, expanding your perception of reality. This blending of senses allows you to directly witness the geometry of sound.

Everyone inside the SoundPuddle shares a common acoustic space. This leads to surprising improvisation and play among participants. You may find the space filled by musical performance, acapella singing, monkey chanting, spontaneous harmonizing, or fits of giggles and laughter. The SoundPuddle is a stage for your creativity and curiosity.

The Plan

We want to build the SoundPuddle into a polished art installation that can appear at many events over the next few years. Along the way, we’ll continue to develop and share our open source technology. We're going to:

  • Build our new electronics board for audio input and LED control

  • Expand the LED array from 16 rows to 24 (a multiple of the 12 notes in an octave)

  • Expand the solar power capacity with two additional panels and 1kWh batteries

  • Provide interior furnishings and comfortable seating

  • Repair and improve the exterior dome cover

The SoundPuddle is a non-profit project, and all proceeds will go towards the production of the technology and physical installation. Any funding exceeding our kickstarter goal be used to expand the LED array to 36 strips, furnish the installation with musical instruments for participants to play with, and provide the space with a swamp cooler so it can be used during the day at events in hot climates.

What are the benefits?

The majority of the planned improvements (repaired cover, exterior lighting, improved electronics) are critical for making the SoundPuddle a safe, comfortable, reliable installation in harsh environments such as Burning Man. The new electronics design will simultaneously control thousands of LEDs without delay or flickering, and will simplify the setup and maintenance of the installation.

Expanding the LED array to 24 strips will enable more sophisticated visualizations of music. The new design will align the lights with the musical octaves we hear, creating an elegant and beautiful window into the geometry of sound.

All of the hardware and software developed for the SoundPuddle is free and open-source. The code we’ve developed so far is already available on github, and as we push the SoundPuddle further all our technical work will be published online under an open license.

We’re committed to bringing the SoundPuddle to Burning Man in 2012, and Flipside and Apogaea in 2013. We hope to be involved in many other art and technology events, and ultimately plan to donate the SoundPuddle to a museum or school.

Kickstarter Rewards

There are many rewards for supporting the SoundPuddle on Kickstarter. Some of the rewards connect directly to the project, and some are items we're fond of that we're having laser engraved at a local shop in Broomfield, Colorado.

At $10 we’ll send you a hand-written postcard with a picture of the full SoundPuddle installation in action, along with a SoundPuddle sticker.

SoundPuddle stickers and patches
SoundPuddle stickers and patches

For $20 we'll record a video of the SoundPuddle reacting to the sound or song of your choosing (send us a file). We'll send you the video and can post it to the SoundPuddle Youtube channel.

For $25 we'll record a video of your sound and we'll send you a colorful SoundPuddle patch (along with the stickers and postcard).

At $50 we have a stainless-steel water bottle with a carabiner cap and the SoundPuddle logo laser-engraved on the side. We thought this was a cool and useful thing to have around, and the the patch, postcard, and stickers will come with it.

Stainless steel water bottle
Stainless steel water bottle

For $100 we'll send you an aluminum 8GB USB drive bottle opener. It will have a laser-engraved SoundPuddle logo, but more importantly will come loaded with pictures and video from the Boulder build days through the set-up and operation at Burning Man 2012. This reward is commemorative of all the data and drinks consumed while making this project a reality.

8GB USB bottle opener
8GB USB bottle opener

For contributions of $150 we'll send you a laser-engraved Leatherman Micra along with the USB bottle opener. This is John's favorite multi-tool, which is perfect for working on advanced electronics in remote locations. The patch, postcard, and stickers are included, too.

Laser-engraved Leatherman Micra
Laser-engraved Leatherman Micra

Build your own...

For $250 you can receive your own copy of the electronics we’ve designed to run the SoundPuddle. This reward is intended for hardware hackers, and includes a Papilio FPGA board and the custom PCB we’re making for audio input and LED control. Use it to build your own SoundPuddle, or something completely new and different! Includes electronics only, no LEDs. See our website or contact us for more information.

Have a mini-Soundpuddle of your own...

For contributions of $1200 or more, we’ll build and deliver your own mini-SoundPuddle! With great potential for performance art, education, or decoration, this sound reactive art piece will enable incredible experiences. The piece will feature hundreds of LEDs and can run off either an internal microphone or a stereo input.

A mini-SoundPuddle
A mini-SoundPuddle

Have the SoundPuddle at your event...

We’ll bring the SoundPuddle to your event! Imagine having this unique interactive space at your party, wedding, or fund-raiser. This reward for contributions of $900 and up is a way for us to share the installation while providing some financial support. Limited to areas within 4 hours drive of Boulder, Colorado, unless special arrangements are made. Subject to scheduling, contact us for details.

The SoundPuddle at your event!
The SoundPuddle at your event!

Who we are

The initial Apogaea art grant application for SoundPuddle was written in December 2011 by John English, the project lead. John has a lifelong fascination for the intersections of art and science, and is an electrical and mechanical engineer in Boulder, Colorado. He is a founding member of Solid State Depot (the Boulder Hackerspace), and co-started Boulder Engineering Studio in 2010.

Alvaro Lopes created the Zpuino platform, and prolifically contributes code for the SoundPuddle embedded electronics. He's a professional FPGA developer located in Portugal.

Enjoying the success of SoundPuddle at Apogaea
Enjoying the success of SoundPuddle at Apogaea

Also on our team are Jack Gassett of the GadgetFactory, Joel Bartlett, Claire Lay, Kris Young, Beacon Beedy, and Garrett Smith.

Check out our website at SoundPuddle.org for news, media and technical information.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    25 backers

    You'll recieve a hand written SoundPuddle postcard and a handful of SoundPuddle stickers. Your name will also be on our list of supportors on the Soundpuddle.org website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    5 backers

    A video recording of the SoundPuddle responding to the audio file of your choosing. Send us your favorite song, poem, sound effect, etc...

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    11 backers

    We'll record a video of your sound and we'll also send you a colorful SoundPuddle patch. The postcard and stickers are included. (Add $5 for shipping to Canada, $10 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    11 backers Limited (89 left of 100)

    Tickets to a evening event with the full SoundPuddle installation, on Sunday, October 14th at a private venue in the downtown Boulder. The installation will host live instrumental music, DJs, and space for open play and interaction.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    9 backers

    A stainless-steel water bottle with a carabiner cap and a laser-etched SoundPuddle logo. You'll also get the patch, postcard, and stickers. (Add $5 for shipping to Canada, $10 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    4 backers

    You'll get an 8GB USB drive bottle-opener loaded with SoundPuddle pictures and video. Commemorative of all the data and drinks consumed to create the SoundPuddle. Patches, postcard, and stickers included. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    0 backers

    Along with the USB bottle-opener you'll receive a laser-engraved Leatherman Micra. This awesome multitool is perfect for working on electronic art in far-off locations. The postcard, patches and stickers are included, too. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    9 backers Limited (1 left of 10)

    Get a copy of the electronics we've developed for the SoundPuddle. Includes a Papilio FPGA board as well as our custom audio-input and LED control PCB. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $900 or more

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    The SoundPuddle will come to your event! We'll setup this unique space for up to 24 hours, anywhere within 3 hours of Boulder, CO. Contact us for scheduling.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,200 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    A mini-SoundPuddle of your own! We'll build a smaller version of the SoundPuddle LED array and send it to you (see video). This unique art piece enables incredible play and performance with sound.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (24 days)