Geekdom Hackday Arduino Step Sequencer

21 Jul 2013

Arduino Step Sequencer

This weekend, Ryan Tanner did an awesome job organizing a general hackathon at Geekdom. Hackers gathered at 10am, and after 7 hours of tinkering, demonstrated their creations at 5pm.

I used the opportunity to explore some areas of micro controllers that I was unfamiliar with. With a handful of LEDs, a couple shift-in and shift-out registers, and a set of buttons, I got to work.

What I ended up with was an illuminated 8 step sequencer. First, the device loads in a set of musical notes. Then, the notes come out one of two ways. In sequence mode, it plays through the notes in order, lighting up each step. In play mode, each button press illuminates and plays the note associated with the stage.

It took bit a of tinkering, but it's basically three subcircuits leveraging a few of the resources below:

Technically there was a control sub-circuit to adjust the tempo, but I added that in the last few moments and it wasn't particularly fleshed out. In all, I was pretty excited about the progress.

New adjacent possiblities from here:

  • Chain multiple registers to extend buttons/lights
  • Create a matrix to increase i/o to the product of the available stages.
  • Mount the project in an interesting enclosure (possibilities: tube or under an acryllic diffused panel)
  • Add a transport/control circuit to make new modes possible: step selection and programming, step-through recording, reverse/pendulum sequences, sub-sequences, global interval offsets
  • Integrate a communication library like Firmata to leverage synthesis environments like Pure Data

I'm excited for the next one.