The Lab

Evolving Cymata


Cymata has gone through a bunch of changes since we started conceptualizing the project, but we’ve stayed true to the core idea of making a meaningful physical object out of sound. Something you can really appreciate, knowing something intimate about the sound that created it.

Since exhibiting at Maker Faire this year, we had a lot of ideas on how to develop Cymata a bit further. We were thinking that 3D printing was the way, but when we started breaking things down to the essence of our idea, we found another path to go down. Tim had the idea of laser cutting our objects. This approach would make the production a bit cheaper, while giving us the ability to use lighter materials. Going this route also opens up a whole bunch of possibilities for making the objects wearable, which we’re pretty excited about.

Since going to an ARTCODE meetup in July at the Laser Cutter Cafe, I saw some pretty amazing things you could do with Processing and laser cutting. Daniel McLaren and Jeff Johnston had some great pieces to show what was possible, and it was clear that taking Cymata in this direction was the right thing to do.

I actually took a step back to an earlier sketch I developed for Cymata to start on the new direction. Focusing just on detecting sound and outputting a 2D visualization, it was a good place to build new features on top of. We now have something that takes a sound sample, renders both channels in 2D, and outputs a PDF file. We’ll start to take these files and plan to start printing some samples in the coming months.

We’ll also be starting to work on voice input, which was a big thing the people we met at Maker Faire we’re interested in. We think this will make the objects even more personal, and gets to the strong emotional level of sound we’ve been looking to give people through this project.


1 Comment

  1. December 11, 2013

    […] week, we were pretty excited to get some laser cut proofs for Cymata. In our last blog post about the project, I described a bit how we would be changing the final output to be something you […]

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