About

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This is a blog portfolio of my efforts towards pursuing two of my passions, namely tinkering and music.

Tinkering, for me, is synonymous to dabbling with technology to bring about design innovation. I have attempted to crack a variety of problems with readily available tools. The problems could be quite trivial – teaching a new language to kids, attracting online bike buyers, helping people navigate better – or fairly complex – giving real superpowers to amputees, making computers sing for you, maneuvering pets with remote controllers, using pencil-paper to WhatsApp, virtually redesigning your homes. My thumb-rule is that regardless of what problem I target, it is the user experience of the solution that really matters.

Music has always been an essential ingredient of my life. Particularly, I am interested in understanding how humans and machines compose music. Can computers have the emotional intelligence to improvise live with humans? Could we stretch the limits of machine learning to make computers grasp and imitate a musician’s playing style? I see a clear distinction between music and sound art; helping provoke emotions through music drives me more than simply creating temporal art using sounds. These experiments are conducted in my personal lab in free time, except if stated otherwise.

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Sound+magic

Sound + Human computer interaction

Music

Design innovation

Other activities

Scholarships

Education

Contact

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Sound+magic

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Taan – musician’s intelligent companion

Taan is a RPi powered device that constantly monitors and analyses a musician’s sounds, and when connected to the internet, shares the data with a high-processing-power computer. The computer, which collects data from multiple Taans, learns musicians’ styles of playing, and transfers the knowledge back to Taans, which, in turn, become smart enough to improvise live with musicians in the form of chord accompaniment or even jugalbandi. This project is in progress.
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Pd+RPi based standalone MIDI processor

By sending the MIDI output of Pure Data to ZynAddSubFX instruments in LMMS, the Raspberry Pi becomes a standalone sound processor with which any musical instrument can act as a MIDI device. This innovation allows vocalists and non-keyboardists (since most of the currently available MIDI devices are keyboards) to play any MIDI sound with their own instruments. Moreover, since Pure Data performs FFT on the analog input signal, ‘meends’ (or bends), which are typical of Hindustani classical music, are accurately decoded.
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New sounds with existing musical instruments and Pure Data

Considering existing musical instruments (including voice) as excellent physical interfaces, I’ve used Pure Data (on Ubuntu) to create new sounds with them. Here’s my blogger post on this approach. Please use earphones while watching the video as the left and the right channels have different sounds.
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Another auto-instrument

Just hook a conductive object and play with it as if it’s an instrument.
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Fun with CapCon

In order to manipulate audio with simple hand gestures, I built a capacitive sensor using QTouchADCTiny library on ATtiny45 and interfaced it with Pure Data.
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Jalsuri –  a new acoustic instrument

A new musical instrument built using old plastic bottle and pipes filled with water sounds like a flute with non-discrete notes.
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Whistle game 3 – Shoot

As the circles drop down, control the triangular shooter with your whistle to kill them. If they come very close to the triangle’s space, you’re busted! This and the other whistle games use the Minim Processing library to perform FFT.
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Whistle game 2 – Flit

Use your whistle to navigate the circle through this space of obstacles.
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Whistle game 1 – Reflect

Avoid the circle from escaping the space by reflecting it off the ledge. Move the ledge with your whistle.
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A tough ear-testing game

Hover on the circles that sound like minor notes (minor 2nd, minor 3rd, minor 5th, minor 6th and minor 7th) with respect to the constant root note played in the background. The longer the pointer stays on the correct circles, the higher you score.
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Poor man’s touchscreen

A simple touchscreen that uses four photoresistors to track the finger. The light from the screen gets reflected from the paper cone mounted on the finger while a microcontroller estimates the position of the finger from the resistance values.
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Pencil-paper input

This is an experiment to use pencil (or finger) and paper as an input ‘device’ for the computer.
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Digital Bansuri

The LEDs embedded in the shirt sleeve represent the corresponding holes on the Bansuri. This can preserve a player’s actions and help learners to quickly adopt them.
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Special birthday cake

This smart birthday cake triggers lights and music the moment it is cut! It also does so when it is being fed. Behind the scenes, the circuits are completed when the knife touches the cake and when the cake in one person’s hand touches the other person’s mouth.
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Music with shadows and light

In this fun experiment to play music with shadows, I have mapped the intensity of light (actually the resistance value) to the frequency of the sound.

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Sound + Human computer interaction

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Faculty + Sound researcher

Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology + The Indian Sonic Research Organization + (Art)ScienceBLR

2015 – 2016

As a researcher, my role was to invent open-source DIY kits that allow enthusiasts to tinker with sound. Some of my works include:

– an ATtiny45 based theremin

– a modular synthesizer consisting of square/saw oscillators, sequencers, mini-keyboards, filters, envelopes and mixers

– a 555 timer IC based kit that was used to conduct the DIY robotmusician workshop

– a Raspberry Pi and Pure Data based Roland TR-808 drum machine
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Physical interaction designer

Lechal

2013 – 2015

Lechal is the world’s first haptic footwear with smart wearable technology which helps you in navigating unknown location hands free and also tracks fitness. I was involved in designing physical/tangible interactions for Lechal. I also built several Arduino-based proof-of-concepts for wearable technology products. My work involved:

– hacking interactive devices like gaming controllers, old mobile phones, computer mice, etc

– hacking utility devices like weighing scales, pulse oximeters, thermometers, etc

– exploring unique techniques such as conducting audio through human body

– tinkering with existing wearables to make them suitable for specific user groups such as musicians, differently abled, toddlers, sportspeople and even pets
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Haptic interaction designer

Bristol Interaction Group

2010

My work as a research fellow at the Bristol Interaction Group involved designing haptic interactions for a hand-held TV which was equipped with ultrasonic transducers for mid-air haptic feedback.
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Flash game designer/developer

Dig Design Studio

2009

I designed and developed Flash games for five to seven year old kids to teach them the Indian language ‘Konkani’ which doesn’t have a written script.

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Music

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Hindustani-classical guitar:


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Indian flute (Bansuri):


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Guitar + neck rack harmonica:

Video

Video
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Guitar solos and compositions:

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Design innovation

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User experience design consultant

Livspace

2016 – 2017

Livspace connects home-interior designers to new clients, and provides them infrastructure to pursue projects. Major part of my work involves designing software using which home-interior designers can effectively present and communicate their ideas to clients.
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Interaction design expert

Lechal

2013 – 2015

I was involved in designing Lechal website, mobile site and the Android navigation app that complements Lechal smart shoes.
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User experience designer + Deputy manager

Bikewale

2012 – 2013

I was responsible for the UX of Bikewale, an online portal where bike buyers and owners can research, buy, sell and come together to discuss and talk about their bikes.
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User interface designer

Infosys

2011 – 2012

At Infosys, I worked on a variety of projects that involved designing visual UI for mobile and web.
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Interaction designer

Redmelon Design

2010

In the process of designing a website of an upcoming actress, through this internship I got acquainted with wireframing software such as Axure RP.

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Other activities

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My robots from college days (2007  – 2011)

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Paintings

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Sketches

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My thoughts

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Scholarships

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2011: Won Developing Solutions Scholarship, University of Nottingham

2010: Won Window India Learning Link Power Scholarship, Erasmus Mundus

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Education

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Bachelor of Design

Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

2007 – 2011

My thesis was at the intersection of human computer interaction and sound design, with the aim of defining what elements of music arouse which emotions. Please have a look at my coursework here.

Master of Science – Music Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

2017 – 2019 (expected)

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Contact

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tejasrode@gmail.com

trode3@gatech.edu

+1 470 257 0465

 

Last updated: August 2017
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