robotcowboy: cabled madness | peripherals

carbon throat mic

carbon throat micThis is an old Austrian army tank operators carbon throat microphone.  It picks up the voice through the direct vibration of the vocal chords and does not feedback nearly as much as an acoustic microphone.  I had to build a little circuit to make it work as carbon mics need dc power in order to work.  After  experimenting with a few different setups, the circuit below worked the best and the 9V should last at least 25 hours or so.

The audio transformer is about $3 at RadioShack, but does not transfer much bass as the lowend cutoff is around 300Hz … but then again, these old carbon mics do not have much bass anyway.


audio sample

outside inside

wrist keyboard


This is a simple keyboard I strap to my wrist. I use it to trigger sounds and other such things and can map the buttons to anything I want.

button_box v2

button boxThis is a simple control box built out of a hacked gamepad. I simply removed the logic board from the gamepad, cut off the parts I didn’t need, and soldered new buttons to the trigger pads. The big red button lights up and is used to start/stop songs; the smaller red button loads the next song in the playlist; the black button is for Push-To-Talk voice communication control of my microphone; and the white button currently has no use. If you hold down the black and red buttons, the system will look for nearby wiimotes over Bluetooth.

It is my second version of the same idea. The first button_box was built out of a custom Arduino circuit and communicated over a serial connection or a Bluetooth modem. My main problems with this approach is that serial interface requires more software handshaking and that it needs an 9V battery. If I would forget to check the battery and the box ran out of power, I had no way of controlling the playback of my songs … that is a major design flaw! By basing the second button box off of a gamepad, I eliminate both problems in that most operating system have low level HID drivers already and this gamepad is powered by the computer over USB.

robotcowboy button_box – Ardunio, Bluetooth, PD, and Windows Scripting

Back to basics, a slimmed down music software control interface.

On the MAKE:blog!

September 2006