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Surrogate Soundboards for novel reproduction of instrument sounds
My senior thesis in Applied Physics investigates the notion of a surrogate soundboard as the “perfect speaker” to reproduce, in real-time, the audio signal from that particular instrument.
My research focuses on string instruments, most notably the violin. Instead of a vibrating string, a vibrating electromechanical transducer is used to introduce vibrations to the violin soundboard. A novel method of wireless transmission is developed to capture the source signal from the bridge of a live violin and sent to the transducer mounted on the body of a surrogate violin. This would allow a violinist to play in one room and have the sound be propagated from a surrogate violin in a different room, or even a different country. In addition, the first violinist of an orchestra could theoretically play 10 simultaneous surrogate violins and take the role of an entire string section.
I am advised by Prof. Roman Kuc in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Prof. Lawrence Wilen at the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design.
Musical Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
I’ve been investigating ways we can use sensors and motion tracking technology to develop more tactile and intuitive ways to interact with electronic sound. Recently, I’ve been using the Leap Motion with Professor Konrad Kaczmerak to augment a type of sound synthesis known as “Granular Synthesis” by allowing the user to trigger individual grains through finger movement and modulate other sonic aspects such as grain length and sample location via hand movement in 3D space.
I have also worked with PhD candidate Xiao Xiao and Prof. Hiroshi Ishii in extending MirrorFugue. The system consists of a player-piano with a projector displaying the upper half of a recorded player, creating the illusion of a pianist playing from the reflection. The pianist’s movement including body, facial expressions and fingerings are displayed onto the keys and piano surface. MirrorFugue embeds these embodied expressions – lost in simple audio recordings – into a format users can physically interact with.
Center for Engineering and Innovation Design, Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Traditional MIDI controllers and speakers can be lacking in expressivity, customizability and fun. I’ve been trying to change that by seeking alternative input and output designs and fabrication materials. I work at Yale’s Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) and in the past, have given presentations on the basics of DJing and how to use the Arduino to make custom MIDI controllers such as the “HeMiDi” controller and how to use Sushi as a legitimate drum pad.
Instruments Sans Frontières
Instruments Sans Frontières aims to overcome the limitations of acoustic instruments for the disabled by developing a novel musical interface employing three key technologies: a.) Sensor and motion tracking technology b.) Software Physical Models of instruments (DSP) and c.) Specially designed electro-acoustic resonators.
The project will work closely with patients and doctors at the Yale School of Medicine to develop a set of wearable devices using arduinos, flex sensors, force sensors, accelerometers and breath sensors in addition to the Microsoft Kinect and Leap Motion to control parameters such as note selection and timbre in a software instrument. The generated sound will be delivered through an “electro-acoustic” resonator that mimics the soundboard of a real instrument. The end product will be an electro-acoustic instrument that can accommodate various disabilities and leverages the exciting marriage between modern sensors and signal processing with centuries of instrument refinement and design.
I am advised by Prof. Konrad Kaczmarek at the Yale University Department of Music.
Synthesis of non-iridescent RGB photonic crystals using core shell nanoparticles
Soft Matter Lab, Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science – Summer 2012.
E-Ink technology holds great promise for use in color displays with low power consumption, flexible form factors and optical performance in direct sunlight. We attempt to use the phenomenon of “structural color” to achieve a color E-ink display. Structural color arises from the selective scattering of light from nano-scale variations in the refractive index of a substance. When nanoparticles or colloids arrange into a periodic structure, they exhibit structural color. Under the guidance of Professor E. Dufresne and graduate student Rapheal Safarti, I investigated methods to produce angle-independent (non-iridescent) RGB photonic crystals using core shell nanoparticles. I examined ways to modify existing synthesis and coating techniques to produce polystyrene-silica core-shell nanoparticles with the desired dimensions and monodispersity and was trained to independently operate the Hitachi SU-70 Scanning Electron Microscope for particle characterization. The vibrant colors produced by these crystallized colloids under normal light coupled with the lab’s current research in dynamic modulation of color using electric fields provides an enticing foundation for use in the future “color Kindle”.
Determining the resonant frequencies of a circular membrane using laser displacement
International Baccalaureate Extended Essay in Physics, Bangkok Patana School, Thailand – 2011.
The harmonics of a circular membrane are produced by its normal modes of vibrations in 2 dimensions with circular boundary conditions. However, the fundamental frequency of a circular membrane cannot be obtained experimentally using the conventional method of displacing the system from equilibrium and using Fourier analysis on the resultant oscillation. Unlike strings, pipes and pendulums, the fundamental frequency of a circular membrane decays within a fraction of a second after excitation and does not appear as a distinct peak in the frequency domain. An alternative method is explored and developed using reflected laser displacement under the supervision of Mr. Brian Taylor. The circular membrane is subject to a driving frequency provided by a speaker. When resonance occurs, a laser reflecting off the membrane’s surface is used to quantify changes in amplitude. The data points agree within experimental uncertainty to a literature equation. The method of laser displacement may serve as a way of experimentally determining a circular membrane’s fundamental frequency and could be useful for thin and delicate surfaces such as telescopic lenses that cannot be displaced from equilibrium by force.
Synthesis of gold nanowires using biological templates and commercially-available Monosodium Glutamate
Center for Excellence in Nanotechnology at the Asian Institute of Technology, Pathum Thani, Thailand – Summer 2010.
Nanotechnology has widespread applications in the fabrication of technology, medicine and agriculture. However, the majority of useful nanoparticles and nanostructures require highly specialized apparatus and materials for production. Through the guidance of Professor J. Dutta and Professor G.L Hornyak, I synthesized monodisperse 20nm gold nanoparticles using commercially available Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) as the reducing agent. These gold nanoparticles were then used to produce self-assembled gold nanowires using a nutrition driven process involving Aspergillus Niger fungi. The fungal spore is immersed into the gold nanoparticle-MSG solution and as it consumes the aqueous glutamate ion, the growing hyphae are coated with gold nanoparticles. The resultant nanowires produced by the group using this biological template exhibit properties of bulk gold including excellent electrical conductivity. The process opens up the possibility for less expensive methods of nanoparticle and nanowire production using commercially available materials and biological templates.