ITP Blog

Homemade Hardware - Week 9: Final Project (Working In Progress)



Everything goes wireless and precise, which kills the joy of out-of-order and being wild.

So I want to make a glitch PCB/Machine/box/Audio Jack, to ruin every song that goes through it with wild sound effect. The interaction I want to create is the feeling of fix a broken machine, like tuning a knob, detecting circuit with probes or connecting pins together.



Apr 20 update:

This week, I talked to some instructors in ITP and they really give me some good idea about building my glitch jack.

Yotam Mann: about wireless audio transmit, I can build a node server to connect with both Max/MSP and ESP8266. The other solution is to use lightblue bean, which can send midi control data to laptop. (I don't have enough time to test both of these two ideas, but I will try them during the summer)

Ben Light: If the jack will be plugged directly to the laptop, the jack should have a support skeleton in the middle. and standoff to support the other sides. After talk to Ben, I found that build a box will increase the size of my jack, so in the end I may only use standoffs to support two sides and make the connection with wires.

Andy: after talking with Andy, I think I should stick to the audio sound effect, so I shifted to analog sensors like trimpots, switches, and alligator clips to make analog changes.





For the prototype, I basically build a combination of analog synthesizer and guitar pedal.

testing without audio input

testing with audio input















I changed my design a little bit, now the I successfully connect digital circuit with analog circuits to do real time music processing.


Apr 16 update:

The prototype I built has some limitation, the storage of Arduino is limited and it's very hard to process realtime audio using Arduino digital circuit. The problems includes:

  1. the limit of Arduino digital circuit to process realtime audio
  2. combine sensor to analog circuit
  3. how to transmit processed audio to wire/wireless headphone or speaker
  4. the processed audio doesn't sounds good 

So I decided to shrink my design. For the homemade hardware final project, I will focus on making the PCB box with sensors, instead of building a circuit processing realtime audio.

The glitch will happen in the MAX/MSP, which I will keep developing in the final project of interactive music.

For PCB board, my design is:

  1. Instead of a adapter shape, it will be a long cube
  2. All 6 sides will be PCBs. One side will have a 1/8'' female jack to plug a hacked cable. One side will have a male USB connector to plug straightly to laptop to do serial communication and power the circuit. All 6 sides will have copper traces, smd LEDs and decorative useless through hole or smd parts, like capacitors and resistors
  3. I will use ATmega328 and one or two capacitive sensor breakouts(cap1188), which gave me 8 to 16 touch pads.


  • 👌 Prototype on breadboard
  • 👌 MAX/MSP connection


  • 👉 Eagle Design (through hole PCB)
  • 😭 MAX/MSP glitch developing
  • 🤔 Future plan: Eagle Design (smd PCB) and shrink the size to a flash drive size
  • 🤔 Future plan: use a digital circuit + analog circuit to replace MAX/MSP
  • 😆 Final plan:
    • get rid of the USB connector and use audio jack to power the circuits and the battery.
    • get rid of laptop built-in bluetooth and put a bluetooth module in my circuit to pass the audio to a wireless headphone
    • get rid of all the modules and shrink the size to a audio male jack size

For the final project, I want to build a prototype version of a glitch remix box/audio jack.

Basically, you plug whatever audio source to it, make some gesture, the box will add some weird but interesting sound effect to the audio source.