Orchestral Beat


Group Members: Adit Verma & Arjun Dutt


The original intent for this BLE-based sound installation was to create a ‘digital orchestra’.  On a central device, the video and sound of a (live) orchestra would be playing. Each person who would want to interact with the installation would be given a pin-badge as an entry ticket or identifier that they are participating in the installation. Behind the badge we have fixed an Arduino to a CR2032 watch battery- given its size, it was the only power source we could use that was small and compact enough to fit behind a badge. The central device is programmed to scan for peripheral devices (Arduino) and subsequently, the Arduino (Peripheral) is programmed to Broadcast its RSSI to the Central device continuously.

To each individual Arduino, we would assign a particular instrument (drums, guitar, etc.) from the soundtrack we created on Garageband through P5.js. And once you are in the vicinity of the central device, the proximity of the Peripheral is read by the Central device and that triggers a certain manipulation in the music. In this case, to the volume of the particular instrument that has been assigned to the Arduino. For example, if you have been given a badge with a drum on it, once you start walking away from the Central device the volume of the drums starts to get softer and as you keep moving towards the Central device, the volume of the drums will get louder. So, in essence, the volume of the instruments would continually vary as people continually walked around the room.

As you can imagine, we ran into a lot of hurdles while working with the RSSI and trying to program the Peripherals and the Central. There were a lot of hurdles being trying to figure how we could assign a single instrument from a soundtrack (with multiple instruments) to a single Arduino, Once switched on the Arduino wouldn’t automatically try to pair with the central device, in fact, it would need to be manually connected. This really took away from our hope of seamless, fluid installation and the ability of Peripherals to talk to each other.

Ultimately, with time ticking down, we split the song into the sum of its instrumental parts and assigned an Arduino to each of the three instruments. Instead of a video with an orchestra conductor, we split the laptop screen into 3 distinct areas to correspond to three distinct instruments. Once the Arduino badge is manually connected, its assigned sound will start playing. The sound will go higher or lower in volume depending upon the viewer’s proximity to the Central device.

Experience Video | How it Works Video | Code Link

Project Images:


untitled-1   20211211_234501

Development Images:

20211211_234341  20211212_223843


Network Diagram: