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    "I am very emotionally affected by sound. Sounds are the inexplicable... There is a sound you hear in your head, it's your nerves, or your blood running." -  Lou Reed, (1942-2013) was an American musician, singer, songwriter and poet.

    Congratulations to  balearicdynamics for  The Pi Rotary.  You are the winner of a $200 Shopping Cart!


    Congratulations to fmilburn for Screaming LM386: An Audio Amplifier with PCB ArtBigG  for Boogie Bones, and for Portable Ultrasonic Object Detector!  You are the First Place winners of the $100 Shopping Cart!


    Congratulations to lui_gough  for It’sa me, Oscilloscope! - Making Music with a 'scope? , cypresstwist for Audio project: Agony Box, robogary for "Amazing Bass" homebrew audio system for a Raspberry Pi Retro-gaming console , paj for Buzzomatic - electric ears , sjmill01 for The Ultrasonic Owl Orb of Protection, and vimarsh_ for SoundFi - Transmitting Data Using Sound (Ultrasonic Sound) !  You are the runners up and you win free swag!


    The Acoustics  competition gave you an opportunity to do projects around sound and could involve projects that involve infrasound, audible sound, ultrasound, amplifiers, piezoelectric material, spectrum analyzers, and more! Acoustics (from the Greek word akoustos which means "heard") is the science of how sound is produced, transmitted, controlled, and the effects of sound.


    There were many outstanding contributions in this theme and the magic of sound, resonated with many of our community members.  As the theme drew to close, the worldwide pandemic involving the COVID-19 brought fear and worry to many of us who turn to the community and projects to provide an enriching learning experience and add levity to life.    One of the projects that really hit home for me, is not even listed on this announcement, a testament to the sheer number of great projects we had during the competition, was Relaxing sounds of nature by redcharly .   redcharly , was gracious enough to volunteer to judge,  scoring his top choices for projects, and giving helpful feedback. I've come to find out he's an IT teacher so scoring is something that comes naturally to him.   His words in his post captured the spirit of this competition during these worrisome times:


    "Hi, these are terrible days, in Italy we have been locked in the house for days to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.


    "What's better than designing and building something with Arduino? I thought of creating a small circuit that, based on the values of temperature, humidity and brightness, can set 8 soundtracks for our day. For example, if it is hot and it is daytime it could be relaxing to hear crickets to dream of lying on the grass in the countryside, if instead it is dark and it is hot and humid it could be nice to listen to the frogs, etc.


    "As sounds, we have that of a stream, that of rain, sea waves, etc. the only limit is our imagination. Songs that adapt to different situations could also be set, rock for summer evenings, blues for winter evenings, country music for summer afternoons, etc. I am having fun alternating music and sounds and, above all, I am spending long days at home doing something I love."  - redcharlyRelaxing sounds of nature


    Another thing that stuck out to me was the really awesome way that lui_gough created sounds using bench top equipment from  :


    If you've ever wanted to hear a bench power supply unit play the theme song from Rocky now's your chance!   Not a fan of Rocky?  It also plays everything from Harold Faltermeyer - Axel F to Christina Aguleira and Counting Crows. 


    The Grand Prize winner of the competition goes to balearicdynamics for the The Pi Rotarybalearicdynamics reached out to me even before this competition began about doing a workshop series on doing weekend projects.  We had chosen the Pi Rotary as the project to feature during the workshop, you'll get to see unseen footage from that build, and we're working on "homework" assignments to encourage members to blog about their upcycling projects.   Close behind was balearicdynamics was fmilburn with  Screaming LM386:  An Audio Amplifier with PCB Art .   fmilburn is a fan of what  element14 presents is doing with #badass Women Makers and Engineers Contest  and he created this special piece of Electronic Art which we're working with him on doing something cool with on the community in support of the contest.  His Scream PCB art work was a clever entry in the Acoustics competitions and definitely earns the praise it received!  Rounding out the first place finishers was Boogie Bones by  BigG and Portable Ultrasonic Object Detector by


    Without further Ado here are your winners.......


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    The Winners

    The Grand Prize


    The Pi Rotary by balearicdynamics :


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score:  37 Likes, 1 Bookmark, 11 Comments, 13 Helpful,  Total:  67


    Grand Prize: 4 points, First Place:  2 points, Engagement Bonus: 1 point,  Total Points: 6 Points


    Pi Rotary is based on the upcycling of a rotary phone from the end of 60s' using a Raspberry Pi to create a Pi-rotary smartphone.


    A part of the device that is excluded is the phone ring bell: controlling an old phone ring bell with digital low voltage signals may be more complex than expected as the bell rings working at a relatively high voltage. Together with the electrical issue, he had to find a way to create the space for the new components and using another class of audio messages – as we will see later – the ring bell results useless.


    To provide audio features to the device balearicdynamics disassembled a cheap USB and Bluetooth portable amplifier with speakers. the device includes a 3.5 mm Jack audio input for wired connection, used to amplify the Raspberry Pi audio output. The amplifier is powered by a temporary switch button. After powering on, the default setting is Bluetooth mode; to switch to wired mode another temporary switch button should be pressed once. The power sequence need the button pressed for about five seconds (until the amplified emits a sound); the same when switching from Bluetooth mode for about half a second.


    The Pi Rotary


    "This (Grand Prize) has to be the Pi Rotary by BalericDynamics. This is such a interesting retro gadget it has to take the top place. It also uses so many facets of technology that were well detailed enabling others to replicate the project if they wished." - Community Member Judge



    "Great to see such a nostalgic piece of communications equipment be used to in such an entertaining and unique manner. The project blog was great to follow and accompanied by a superbly put together video." - Community Member Judge

    "This was another work of art in the form of a great project/hack." - Community Member Judge



    First Place Winners


    Screaming LM386:  An Audio Amplifier with PCB Art  by fmilburn:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 45 Likes,  24 Comments, 6 Helpful,  Total:  75


    Grand Prize: 2 points, First Place:  2 points, Engagement Bonus: 1 point,  Total Points: 5 Points


    The PCB art is based on the famous work by Edvard Munch called The Scream.  The method used is based on the work of Andrew Sowa, with the main difference being  fmilburn 'sworkflow uses Photoshop and converts the image to grey scale using the "magic wand" to isolate layers rather than a color conversion using Adobe Illustrator to create the bit map for KiCad as Andrew does.  The modified layers are brought into KiCad and converted into a footprint.  For additional information on the methods used see the first post here.



    Screaming LM386: An Audio Amplifier with PCB Art

    "An aptly named project with a very creative outcome combining electronics and art. The concept opens up so many options and ideas for producing unique PCBs for a project." - Community Member Judge


    "Frank combined Art and Electronics into a simple, but cool project.  Well described, cleanly built and it sounds good too." - Community Member Judge

    "Awesome twist on the theme with The Scream - and it makes sound." - Community Member Judge


    Boogie Bones  by BigG:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 58 Likes, 1 Bookmark, 14 Comments, 16 Helpful,  Total:  89


    Grand Prize: 2 points  First Place:  1 points, Engagement Bonus: 2 points,  Total Points: 5 Points


    This toy was originally purchased as a funny/silly (you pick) Halloween toy, which played a somewhat annoying tune and the turntable turned to mimic a disc scratch when you pressed a button...


    This months acoustics challenge was just the opportunity to bring a new lease of life to this skeleton disc-jockey. It also allowed for some learning through experimentation with Fast Fourier Transforms.


    The parts/modules I used were as follows:


    The project all hinges off software that interprets the spectrum analysis of a microphone audio signal. The Adafruit breakout board, which includes a 20-20KHz electret microphone and a Maxim MAX4466 op-amp for audio amplification to capture an audio signal. According to the product description, this breakout is best used for projects such as voice changers, audio recording/sampling, and audio-reactive projects that use FFT. The manual gain control allows amplification adjustment from 25x up to 125x.



    Boogie Bones


    "A neat modification to the skeleton disc-jockey with an entertaining and amusing outcome. The blog covering the build was well written and full of detail." - Community Member Judge



    "Fun little project/hack that really rocks! I really like the FFT work to drive the LEDs." - Community Member Judge

    Portable Ultrasonic Object Detector by


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 20 Likes, 2 Bookmarks,  7 Comments, 4 Helpful,  Total:  33


    Grand Prize: 2 points, First Place:  2 points, Total Points: 7 Points

  has wanted to build an ultrasonic object detector ever since he saw a post on one. He's seen several projects on ultrasonic object detectors. However, all of the projects tethered the sensor to a PC. He wanted a more portable solution. So he designed an ultrasonic object detector that the user could place anywhere that had Wi-Fi connectivity. The ultrasonic object detector sends the sonar data to the PC via Wi-Fi. The PC then displays the data using a simulated sonar screen.  To do this he mounted an HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor on a tilt-pan servo and attached the tilt-pan servo and ultrasonic sensor to the Arduino. The Arduino pans the environment while taking readings for the HC-SR04 senor for every degree the servo moves. The ESP8266 wifi module requests the sonar data from the Arduino. Finally, the Processing software module on the PC reads the sonar data sent by the wifi module and displays the data on the PC screen.


    The HC-SR04 is an inexpensive ultrasonic distance sensor. Developers mainly use it to range the distance from an object. It is popular with DIY roboticists for collision avoidance in mobile robots. Other uses for ultrasonic distance sensors include speed and direction measurement, wireless charging, humidifiers, medical ultrasonography, and burglar alarms.  It consists of a transmitter, receiver, and a crystal oscillator (Figure 2). The transmitter converts an electrical signal to ultrasonic waves, while the receiver converts the ultrasonic waves back to electrical signals. The purpose of the crystal oscillator is for timing operations.  It works between 2cm to 400cm away with a resolution of 3mm. However, for the best results, range between 10cm and 250cm. Its measuring angle is 30o (15 degrees on either side of the sensor.) It uses approximately 15mA, and its operating voltage is 5 volts.



    Portable Ultrasonic Object Detector


    "The detail provided in Keith's blog was ample to allow other members to replicate the work. I really enjoyed the mix of mechanical within this acoustic project." - Community Member Judge


    "An intriguing project with a well written blog to covert build. The end result was very good with a classical radar / sonar display to highlight the project in operation." - Community Member Judge

    "Detailed.  Multiple aspects.  Visualization of ultrasonic detection." - Community Member Judge

    The Runners Up

    Runners Up:


    The following members received first place votes.


    It’sa me, Oscilloscope! - Making Music with a 'scope?  by lui_gough


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 44 Likes, 5 Bookmarks,  10 Comments, 5 Helpful,  Total:  64


    First Place:  1 points, Engagement Bonus:  1 points Total Points: 2 Points


    As we all know, sounds are just pressure waves in air. We can easily generate sounds from electrical waves by passing it to a transducer such as a speaker that vibrates the air in the same fashion. Digital music stores the shape of these electrical waves as samples – a digital number representing the amplitude of the wave at periodic intervals (which is often compressed to save storage space). Thus, if you store these samples rapidly enough and reproduce them rapidly enough, we can record and reproduce basically all sounds. To a human, this can be achieved with about ~40000 to 48000 samples per second.


    Knowing this, the digital to analog converter in a sound card, music player or smartphone is just taking these samples and producing the analog voltage corresponding to them to reconstruct the analog waveform. In essence, it is an arbitrary waveform generator (subject to certain constraints, especially frequency response, accuracy and DC levels).


    Where else can you find an arbitrary waveform generator? Well, on the bench ... and in the Rohde & Schwarz Oscilloscope Kit RTM3K-COM4 - Review, as an option. Are you thinking what lui_gough is thinking?



    It'sa me, Oscilloscope - Making Music with a 'scope?


    "Out of the box thinking.  Alexa, look out.  Power Supply supplements this choice." - Community Member Judge



    "Amazing Bass" homebrew audio system for a Raspberry Pi Retro-gaming console  by robogary:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 8 Likes, 1 Comments, 1 Helpful,  Total:  10


    First Place:  2 points, Total Points: 3 Points


    This custom portable Raspberry pi retro gaming console is different. It is a show piece for Raspberry Jams and Maker Faires.  It is going to sonically annoy parents, wives, teachers, and those nasty smelly curmudgeons who won’t give your pudding until you eat your meat. People playing this version of the Raspberry Pi retro game console are not just going to play the game, they are going to FEEL the game. This Retro game console is going to be have AMAZING BASS.  AMAZING BASS packs a thunderous punch in the gut for the gaming groans, explosions, launches, hits, and stomps. The retro game system is going to include a high powered audio amp, a subwoofer, and hand designed & built speaker enclosures AND it is going to be INEXPENSIVE ! It also needs to match and complement the retro gaming console.


    Raspberry Pi "Amazing Bass" homebrew audio system for a Raspberry Pi Retro-gaming console


    "Nice work getting the bass on this retro pi based system so loud. There was so much detail in this blog including great screen shots of the design whiteboard and layouts for the bass port itself. This would allow anyone to follow and tweak the design to their own requirements." - Community Member Judge



    "Great sounding project.  The details on the speaker enclosure work was very impressive." - Community Member Judge


    The Ultrasonic Owl Orb of Protection  by sjmill01


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 31 Likes, 1 Bookmark,  8 Comments, 5 Helpful,  Total:  43


    Grand Prize:  2 points, Total Points: 2 Points


    This project is centered around acoustics and designed to protect our home.  sjmill01  wanted a system that doesn't have to wait until a door opens or a window is broken to trigger.  He also doesn't want a laser beam that can be maneuvered around.  The goal is to make a sensor system that will provide an orb of protection around his back porch impossible to infiltrate without triggering the alarm. Car parking sensors use ultrasound, which is an acoustic wave with a very high frequency, beyond human hearing above 20kHz. What is amazing about it is how "loud" it is.  It sends out a inaudible scream at over 100dB - "louder" than a motorcycle without causing ear damage. With that short wave length, it has a pretty narrow beam, so it doesn't cause issues for designs like my orb around my porch since I can point it out of the way of fixtures.  Also, since it is sound through air, it travels nominally at 340m/s.   So, inexpensive devices can measure the time it takes to "bounce back". To hack the parking sensor, he simply needed to figure out how the brain box is communicating to the monitor.  This project uses an Arduino MKR Zero, parking sensor kit, LM386, and a flower pot.


    The Ultrasonic Owl Orb of Protection

    "I was all prepared until Sean Miller took himself out of the competition.  He was my pick for Grand Prize.  The Ultrasonic Owl Orb of Protection          Nice reverse engineering.  Ultrasound in, creepy voice out." - Community Member Judge



    Audio project: Agony Box by cypresstwist:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 34 Likes, 8 Comments, 13 Helpful,  Total:  55


    First Place:  1 points Total Points: 1 Points


    This is just something to have disturbing fun with: the Agony Box. It uses an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express with some CircuitPython code and some freely available WAV files. The WAV files had to be converted to PCM 16-bit Mono and the volume needs to be turned down a bit. The open-source SoundConverter app in Ubuntu was used for the conversion.  Disturbing – we know.  The plan is to use analog buttons and a cheaper CircuitPython-capable device.   This is just a quick hack.


    Audio project: Agony Box



    "An amazing little drum kit was made on a Adafruit Circuit ground device which could be adapted to make various sounds. I really liked this and could easily see myself building one into a toy or gadget." - Community Member Judge



    Buzzomatic - electric ears by  paj:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 9 Likes, 4 Comments, 2 Helpful,  Total:  15


    First Place:  2 points Total Points: 2 Points


    This is a great example of acoustics project used for accessibility. Hard of hearing people face all sorts of problems beyond the basic problems of communicating. One of these problems, which is potentially fatal, is not hearing sounds like someone blowing a horn as warning. paj is partially deaf in one ear and he understands the problem because he often hears things but can’t tell what direction it's come from. He started thinking about solutions to the direction problem and ended up with the idea of 2 microphones connected to vibration motors embedded into a baseball cap or hair band.


    So hopefully if a loud noise occurred, the user would get a buzz on either side of the cap, depending upon which direction the noise was coming from. In order for this to be useful he figured it would have to fit into a baseball cap or Alice band so it needs to be a relatively small circuit. Also he wanted to keep it as simple as possible.



    Buzzomatic - electric ears


    "In third place I would put: Buzzomatic - electric ears by paj as it is a wonderful idea to try to help those with sensory problems. Even this idea could be improved but it is an interesting starting point that I will propose to my students next year." - Community Member Judge



    "Unique.  Assistive.  Homebrew.  I love it." - Community Member Judge

    SoundFi - Transmitting Data Using Sound (Ultrasonic Sound) by  vimarsh_


    Community Member Scoring:


    Engagement Score: 10 Likes, 2 Bookmarks, 1 Comments  Total:  13


    First Place:  1 points Total Points: 1 Points


    The idea was simple, to transmit data using sound waves. But, not only simple text I wanted to create a device that can demonstrate how we can use sound to take readings in water bodies (oceans) and send it to surface stations.

    What I wanted to do was simple. Collect data from BME 280 sensor(measures temperature, humidity and air pressure), send it via sound to a receiver, The receiver takes the data, splits it and sends it to Cloud.  He's using Blynk service. It is a very easy to use service to send data and has a simple to use app.



    SoundFi - Transmitting Data Using Sound (Ultrasonic Sound)

    "I assign the second place to the project:SoundFi - Transmitting Data Using Sound (Ultrasonic Sound) by vimarsh as it uses  affordable technology to make a transmitter, even if there would be something to improve, it seems to me an interesting idea." - Community Judge

    In the comments below:


    Be sure to Congratulate the Winners and Keep Being Awesome!