Karam and I have been working on building our prototype. After user testing we understand that it is important for us to ensure that our prototype feels like a block: when we used wooden blocks during class people immediately knew how to play with it. We decided to make boxes by laser cutting parts, but before we do, we need to get parts that would fit into the block we intend to build, which is about 2.1 inches. We decided to order some arduino micros to power up the blocks.
Here is our circuit:
Our code works with 5 switches that can make alternate sounds and we can get it to work with the micro. We will likely solder the circuit onto a PCB board once we finalize the circuit.
While this is all working, Karam and I are a little concerned about the limited functionality. We don't doubt we can fabricate the prototype, but we are a little concerned we should be trying to do more. Another difficulty we are running into is how to make beats with the arduino: We can make some basic tunes but we both noticed it is VERY difficult to build actual drum beats with it. I am going to try and use a wave shield that I borrowed and see if I can use that to load some wav file that can help with the sound blocks. Right now we are trying to find a way to reconcile the challenge of adding better functionality without completely altering the original goal of the prototype. We might be able to do more by making the blocks be attached to something else (amps, max, ableton) but that means we can't make it a mobile block. If we make it purely mobile we are restricted by how much we can do with a micro, a small battery and a piezo buzzer inside....decisions, decisions...