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For the ITP classes Tech Crafts and Materials and Building Strategies, Scott Garner created the BeetBox, a tuber-based electronic drum machine. The instrument uses six beets connected to capacitive sensors to play samples on a Raspberry Pi. Here are the full details on the internals:

Touch sensing is handled by an MPR121 Capacitive Touch Sensor from SparkFun, for which I ported existing Arduino code to Python. This board communicates with a Python script on a Raspberry Pi via I2C. The script watches for new touches and triggers drum samples using pygame. Audio from the Pi’s line out is run through a small amplifier I built using an LM386, which is based on a circuit from Eric Rosenthal‘s Basic Analog Circuits class. The amp is connected to a salvaged speaker mounted under the holes in the lid.

Scott also built the enclosure himself:

The enclosure was created from .5″x8″ poplar boards, which I cut to size and finished using various hand and power tools. I used a router for both the edge details and for grooves in which to conceal the wires, and a drill press to create the speaker grill and to bore holes for the beets with a hole saw. I then stained the wood and, after assembly with wood glue and a nail gun, sealed the enclosure with polyurethane.

If you want to see more interesting work from Interactive Telecommunications Program and you’re near New York City, ITP opens its doors to the public for the Winter Show on Sunday and Monday.

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist, Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.


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