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The Micro Rhythm Orchestra

The Micro Rhythm Orchestra is an update on the venerable music box tradition, constructed from a wooden cigar box and head-park solenoids scavenged from old disk drives. The solenoids are controlled by a internal microcontroller. Instead of playing a conventional melody, the solenoids are sequenced to click in rhythmic patterns. If the whole business wasn't quite such a dorkfest, the sound could almost be considered funky. When you open the box, the Micro Rhythm Orchestra begins to play. The work is interactive: viewers can change the rate and pattern by interacting with the control panel.

Control panel consists of the knob which controls the speed of the rhythmic pattern, from zombie-slow to impossibly robot-fast. A reasonable speed is indicated by the black triangle, though users are naturally free to set their own tempo. The red button starts and stops the pattern, while the black button selects the available patterns to play. (Pressing the black button while stopped cycles through the available patterns.) The bicolor LEDs at the top cycle with the pattern (when playing), or show the selected pattern in binary (when stopped).