Rhythm Tree Tech Specs

The Rhythm Tree is a gigantic sculpture composed of small organic pod-like drumpads.

50 people at a time can play the 300 pads of the Rhythm Tree. Each drum pad is sculpted out of a urethane material and contains a pressure-sensitive piezo-electric strip. When the pad is tapped, tickled or whacked, it triggers percussive vocal samples and words.

The 300 Rhythm Tree drum pads each hold a circular circuit board with a PIC donated by Microchip, a piece of piezo-electric material, and an LED (light-emitting diode). The pads form a self-organizing network in which each pad has an identity making it possible to track where a hit is coming from.

Every network of 30 pads is mastered by a Bus controller which collects the signals and passes them on to the computer.

The 5 controllers feed into an IBM PC running Microsoft's Windows NT. Our software looks for patterns between players and playing styles and creates rhythmically explosive propagations that ricochet between the pads.

An AWE 32 soundcard by Creative Technology, Inc.

A 500 Mb hard drive.

A sampler with 64 Mb ram holds the vocal samples.

Midi merger.

5 50-75 watt stereo amplifiers amplify the signal.

For speakers we are using 5 sets of K-RoK Studio Monitors by KRK.

The cables and connectors for the Brain Opera are donated by Belden Wire and Cable.

(image by Tanya Bezreh)