Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Drawdio - a video

And soon to come:

I've been taking video of people using drawdio for the last few weeks. Here's the compilation. I still don't have video of someone playing a song really well on it, though I've seen it happen. All in good time though.


Pyrofx said...

Love the idea and the interaction of drawing together.

Sometimes the simplest ideas have the most impact.

Looking forward to how to build our own, my son now has mad soldering skills.

Anonymous said...


spiderwebby said...

i made somthing similar to this, except it had a croc clip (to clip onto the line) and a ring for ya finger.

this is way awesomer though!

also: stumbleuponed

jay said...

Hey SpiderWebby that sounds cool. Can you post a picture or link or description or story about it?

spiderwebby said...

it was literally an astable 555 circuit with variable resistors and two wires.
i threw it together while i was at bedford training group.

you basically drew you instrument, clipped the croc onto the end of it, put the 'ring' ony your playing finger and made noise by pokeing it.

only one guy managed to get a half decent tune out of it.. cant remember his name though :(

-Roly said...

Cute hack Jay - neat idea.

Hat tip.


james said...

Hi Jay! I have one of these since about 7 or 8 years back. I was contacted by a person researching graphic notation about inclusion in her project... I have never seen the results, but it should be included there. www.notations21.net
I sent her a bunch of drawings (scores) I had saved from my visitors... It is a fun music instrument.
Interesting to see someone else has the same idea!
James Gage
Västerås, Sweden

jay said...

James, could you post pictures, schematics, or tell more about the one you made and your experiences with it?

Anonymous said...

how cool!!! Now someone needs to customize it to send simple MIDI note data via blue tooth to audio production software like reason, logic or cubase.


steve the barbarian said...

someone should make a drawdio glove. like there are pads on the tips of your fingers and you just tap them on things.

Anonymous said...

Amazing !! I wish I could be part of such group

Brandon said...

Jay i have 2 questions (im only 9)

1)is the chip included in the kit?

2)will the elecric circut elecicuit me?

jay said...

Hi Brandon

1) All the parts you need are included in the kit. All you would need are the standard tools to put together a circuit: a soldering iron, some solder, and diagonal cutters (wire cutters). If you have a "3rd Hand" tool or a desolder'ing tool that's also useful.

2) All the electricity in the circuit comes from the 1.5 V battery in the circuit. As you know if you've ever held a AAA battery between your fingers, it won't electricuit you.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

can I add an output line instead the speaker?
I want to use it on my live set.
can I do that?
it will put me in a trouble?
its dangerous?

jay said...

Yeah you can do that no worries. You might get noise on the line depending on how you ground things and other voodoo but it will work


eatabean said...

You can run the output through all kinds of effects as well. I run mine through a mixer-preamp to have some control over the signal strength. Works great.

Octopus said...


Anonymous said...

i MUST build it!!!

Anonymous said...

oh that is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cool! i want to make one!

Anonymous said...

where can you get a kit? i live in new zealand and am only twelve and i REALLY want to build one and i dont know where to get a kit please help...

Anonymous said...

I am a 14 year old and am building this for a science fair project. Can you help explain how the science behind this works?

jay said...

The science works like this: There's a 555 timer which can be set up to make an electronic square wave. When it's set up to work this way it's called an astable multivibrator. The astable part just means that it goes up and down, as opposed to holding in one place, and that's what causes the wave (waves go up and down over and over again). This is also what makes it a "timer". Think of an old grandfather clock swinging its pendulum back and forth. This is how the wave goes: back and forth.

This electronic wave is then pumped into a speaker using voltage (voltage is like a pump for electrons). The voltage comes out of the battery. Then the speaker vibrates back and forth just like the electronic wave did, and that makes a sound wave that your ear can hear.

But what frequency does the sound wave vibrate at? Well that all depends on the resistance you hook up to the 555 timer. The frequency will change depending on the resistor you hook up to it, and the resistor is a regular every day object, like pencil graphite or the human body or water.

The formula for the frequency can be gotten from this webpage
and is
Frequency = 1.44 / ((R1 + R2 + R2) * C)
For us:
C = 680 pF
R1 = 10 k ohm
And R2 is whatever circuit you draw with the pencil plus your body or whatever object you hook up from the world to the Drawdio.

In this way you can change the resistance (R2) by changing the real world hookup, and this makes Drawdio change the pitch of the soundwave you hear.

Hope this helps.

Alberto said...

Just to be sure, wich type of PCB did you use? Can I use a common one or do I need to get a specific one?
Great idea, anyway. I think the simpliest ones are always the cooler ones :D

jay said...

Hey Alberto,
Are you asking about which chip I used? I used an LM555 for the one I made. In the kit version they use a 551 and then they have a different layout. Take a look at http://drawdio.com/make.php for schematics.

If you are asking about the actual circuit board I used, I've done it on protoboard, breadboard, modella milled board, and commercial PCB. Any of them will work.


Good luck.

Alberto said...

Yeah, I was asking for the printed circuit board :)
Thank you very much (i'm now following you on twitter)


MaxX said...

ive had to make 5 of these so far after making one for a friends daughter. the 1st i just used the schematic and a sort of giant board. . . not its about 1cm x 3cm x 1cm on a stripboard. used the 1.0 stripboard by Dylan Banarse but dropped C2 and replaced Q1 with a resistor and threw 20m across the 680pf capacitor according to the 1.1 schematic by ladyada. oh and i just grabbed a transistor at random, its a *squints* bc549. otherwise the track cuts are the same as dylan banarses and the schematic is same as ladyadas. 18 holes of the stripboard, i think i could make it 3 less if i REALLY tried but this is fine for me. btw does anyone have a way of making an led glow in proportion to the tone?
xxameht@gmail.com if ya do