Setting Up the Easel

The Computation Easel (perhaps to be known as the Oblique Easel? We’ll see where this goes) is something I’d like to get at least to being a functional prototype. So I’ve been doing the nitty gritty of building something that works right, even if it’s a little inelegant.

The first big challenge I had was heat. The front end of the entire machine is PlugData, a very serious update to the venerable, if hard to read, Pure Data graphical programming language.

PlugData is pretty resource intensive, but in principle at least it can do most of the experimental programming one might want to do on a low-power computer. It can talk with GPIO pins and I2C analog/digital converters, so with a little level shifting and Op-Amp buffering, it should be a really good digital platform.

It’s my hope that, by the end of this phase of the project, it can safely talk with experimental electronic circuits, in particular Eurorack synthesizers. Ideally, that breakout board will be something generally useful for digital synthesizer experimentors!

Modular systems are a function of industrial society. But do people of The Fifth World still know how to agree to standards? With their acute interest in efficiency, I think they might have carried that lesson forward!

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