Well, I have to say that we were somewhat taken aback by the uptake in the recent BioT touch-plate module — neither Matt (Hot Air) nor I were expecting to sell out quite so quickly! With that in mind, we are mulling over a second release — probably with a different colour scheme…
One thing that seems to have caused a little confusion is the sprung connector — if you look at it closely the two sides are different: on one side the pins are ‘solid’, whilst on the other side the pins move in and out. It is very important that the solid pins are soldered into the PCB allowing the sprung pins to make contact with the underside of the front panel:
When the panel is in place, the pins make contact like this:
Apart from that it should be a straightforward build!
BioT is a collaboration between Wonkystuff & the label Hot Air. From an initial concept and panel design from Hot Air, we have made the panel flippable so that alternative panels can be exposed (one on the reverse of the panel, and one internal!) using a spring connector to cut down on soldering (not cheap, but once an idea is in your head, then it’s hard to shake it off). So, not as cheap as it might be, but 42 times less expensive than a Verbos touchplate keyboard… and we all know how important the number 42 is?
Over to Matt:
This is not in any way a capacitance touch plate of which there are many in modularland. It is more in line with Reed Ghazala’s anti-theory of circuit bending. Some of you on the forum have made diy versions of this. It also has precendents in Michel Waivisz’ Kraakdooz (cracklebox ) and Tom Bugbrand’s postcard & board weevils. On the forum Xodes has manufactured something similar for Eurorack as one of you guessed.
The idea, basically, is to use short circuits creatively: the body (finger or…? ) makes a connection between two plates, but the finger will always have resistance and depending on the surface area covered that resistance can change acting like a bio-potentiometer. Long live ExistenZ & the new flesh! “our bodies are machines, our minds are full of screams” as Jane from Big In Japan howled! The added factor of the close proximity of all of the possible connections also makes it an arena to feel your way around randomly or instinctively to making many interesting permutations of connections just by slithering a finger or two around ( hello ipad/iphone users everywhere ) and hence, with a little bit of trial and error, surprising sounds will be found and can be morphed between as different strengths of touch and positions merge signals that wouldn’t obviously be patched and buzzes, crackles and fizzes from the electricity in your digits add to the shorted broken sounds from voltage and waveforms brutally forced to fight each other for the entertainment of Caesar’s thumb.
Obviously this doesn’t have the full scope of laying yr hands on the inside of random circuits (Major Morgan is my companion in this i have an army of 12 of them with their butch circuitboard chest hair exposed.) BUT it does have the versatility of being able to pick and choose where you introduce circuit breaks/flesh resistance. Lusting after the new Make Noise Strega? Well why not save half a grand and get one (or two?) of these and see what you can come up with in AEland.
BioT will only come in kit form but is a VERY simple soldering task. It will be simultaneously launched this Bandcamp Friday morning 7th May (no fees for a day!) on the Hot Air bandcamp page hot-air.bandcamp.com and on the Wonkystuff website, limited numbers of approximately 15 to 20 on each site. Price will be £17.50 plus postage. there will be a demo album of noises on the bandcamp page which will be a name your price thing so buying from wonkystuff won’t mean you miss out on that.
We hope this deceptively simple module is to some of you peoples noisy taste. here, finally, are some visuals: