Assignment 2: “Comfort Noise” by Haochuan Liu & Ziyun Peng (2013)

Arduino,Assignment,Submission — ziyunpeng @ 10:40 pm



People who don’t usually pay attention to noise would often take it for granted as disturbing sounds, omitting  the musical part in it – the rhythm, the melody and the harmonics. We hear it and we want to translate and amplify the beauty of noise to people who didn’t notice.

Why pillow?

The pillow is a metaphor for comfort – this is what we aim for people perceiving from hearing noise through our instrument, on the contrary to what noise has been impressed people.

When you place your head on a pillow, it’s almost like you’re in a semi-isolated space – your head is surrounded by the cotton, the visual signals are largely reduced since you’re now looking upwards and there’s not that much happening in the air. We believe by minimizing the visual content, one’s hearing would become more sensitive.


We use computational tools ( Pure Data & SPEAR) and our musical ears to extract the musical information in the noise, then map them to the musical sounds (drum and synth ) that people are familiar with.

The Pduino (for reading arduino in PD) and PonyoMixer (multi-channel mixer) helped us a lot.


Inside the pillow, there’s a PS2 joystick  used to track user’s head motions. It’s a five-direction joystick but in this project we’re just using the left and right. We had a lot of fun making this.


Here’s the mix box we made for users to adjust the volume and the balance of the pure noise and the musical noise extraction sounds.


The more detailed technical setting is as listed below:

Raspberry Pi – running Pure Data

Pure Data – reading sensor values from arduino and sending controls to sounds

Arduino Nano – connected to sensors and Raspberry Pi

Joystick – track head motion

Pots – Mix and Volume control

Switch – ON/OFF

LED – ON/OFF indicator




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