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Eolos: a wireless MIDI wind controller – Juan Ramos

Eolos: a wireless MIDI wind controller

Welcome to Eolos‘ page!

Here you can find material about Eolos: a wireless MIDI wind controller, developed through a research carried out within the R&D project Desarrollos Tecnológicos Aplicados a las Artes (Technological Developments Applied to Arts), of the National University of Quilmes (Argentina). For more information, request documentation and others, contact me at the e-mail published in the Contact section (bottom).

Some presentations (in spanish, includes videos):

 

Demonstration video:

 

Related links:

 

About Eolos‘ project

The criteria that guided Eolos design were:

  • To present an interface that facilitates the production of music to any person, regardless of their playing skills or previous musical knowledge
  • To offer a wireless operation, for the convenience of the player
  • To maintain a low building cost

Eolos’ estimated total cost is less than $200 (USD), although it’s difficult to establish a precise value due to component availability, or even the fact that many parts were hand crafted in PVC, wood, aluminium and various materials. Eolos, in addition to the usual characteristics present in other wind controllers such as breath and finger sensing, features an open design that focuses on the ease of use (both for novices and experienced wind players), a low building cost, and offers a wireless MIDI communication.

 

Layout aspects

The instrument is based on an Arduino NANO microcontroller, and the power supply is provided by batteries with an internal recharging system. The MIDI protocol has been chosen to communicate with various audio synthesizer devices, expanding the instrument’s versatility in terms of timbral and artistic possibilities. Through the use of Xbee modules and the creation of a dedicated receiver, robust wireless communication with relative low latency (9 ms) has been achieved.

Several studies were also carried out such as an analysis of existing aerophones (acoustic and electronic) in collaboration with instrumentalists, in order to determine the best ergonomics and comfort for the interpreter.

A fingering system based on tactile (capacitive) electrodes has also been designed to produce the musical notes of a base scale and their chromatic alterations. Special attention has been paid to the design of the velocity / air pressure sensor, the embouchure and it’s feedback to the user: a fundamental requirement to shorten the perceptual distance between the action taken and the sound result obtained. In this regard, a nozzle has been made in 3D printing, which also includes a mandibular pressure sensor.


Note: i’ve been asked several times if I could build and sell another Eolos, or even the current instrument. I’m sorry to say, this is not in my plans for the time being. I am currently working on a new project (and dedicating most of my time to it) called Bandoneon 2.0, in collaboration with a team of experts, seeking to build electronic bandoneons (wich WILL be on sale eventually).