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Sukandar Kartadinata

Sukandar Kartadinata (Instrument Designer, Gluion Developer) - Developing sensor instruments and platforms for artists http://www.glui.de/

Sukandar talked about sensor interfaces. He started by outlining three interfaces: The Sensorlab, the Gluion and the Arduino.

The Sensorlab was the first sensor interface for musical instruments and in fact that is how Sukandar got started when he came to STEIM in 1992. The Sensorlab was made for live electronic interfaces and at the time STEIM was the place to go to if you wanted to do this. Of course today if you ask people about sensor interfaces everybody talks about the Arduino board. The Gluion is different to both the Sensorlab and the Arduino.

The idea for the Gluion started because Sukandar was getting fed up with micro controllers: With every project you get a new micro controller and a new manual and you have to learn how to use it from scratch again and again. The solution for Sukandar was to go the FPGA way. FPGA stands for Field Program Gate Array, and it is essentially a large chunk of re-programmable logic. Sukandar wanted both flexibility and funcionality that is not generally available in mass produces micro controllers. He also wanted to be able to use the sensor interface to just collect the data from the sensors and dump it on the main computer for processing. This is possible because of the much inproved transmission and procession speed since the days of the Sensorlab. We have fast interfaces like usb firewire etc so we no longer need to do much on-board processing. This is in tune with Frank’s approach with JunXion as well. In that sense the new sensor interfaces are really dumb.

Some Gluion design decisions go all the way back to the Sensorlab - it already had a FPGA that it used for specific sensors.

The main requirements for the Gluion was:
Precision - 16 bits processing for timing, precise counters etc.
Concurrence - working in parallel, being able to gather data from serials, etc.
Fine tuning - 12 bit 16 bit etc.
Unique functionality
Portability - can work with many different projects

There is a more detailed description in a paper from NIME 2006

The price is an issue: one Gluion = 17 Arduinos. So how do you compete? What is your business? Sukandar realised that he is not a sensor interface developer but rather someone who builds tailored projects that he needs the Gluion for. Artist comes to him when they have exhausted the capabilities of general interfaces like the Arduino.

Some of the many projects are:
Sun run sun [gps linux gumstix], Nagelsensortish [ir sensor], Motor Beast, Zweite Konservatorische Massnahme, Savvy [barcodes], Wormhole dordrecht [iPhone gps], eMotion [gsr and heart rate], Red psi donkey [acoustic camera ultrasound], Mantis nautilus [sonic navigation, optical encoder], 3d wheel [ArduinoBT, pressure and position]

Sukandar’s future plans for the Gluion include:
Control voltage output
More wireless options
Gain and offset control
and he is considering a more modular design…

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