• Micromondo (Microworld) is a biohacking project that sprouts from the desire to share scientific/biological concepts and images through performance art. Using DIY techniques, a microscope was developed by hacking a webcam, thus enabling to watch a lively microworld so hidden to our eyes. This grants an innovative view of microrganisms, algae and histological section to set you on a journey from science to bioart.
  • The basic idea of the installation is to achieve a process of “sonification” through the dynamics emerging from a sample of microorganisms, analyzed under the hacked electronic microscope.
  • It was designed a digital control based on Arduino, which uses a circuit for zoom adjustment, with a simple servo motor, and allows you to adjust the light intensity and color through an high brightness and RGB light diffused LEDs.
  • It was written a simple sketch, based on the great <<blob detection library>> in Processing, that makes the “motion capture” of video frames detcted by the webcam of the microscope, through the traking of bright pixel areas.
  • These data are mapped onto parameters of a granular sound processing algorithm. In particular are the x,y values​​, and number of “blob detection” processed, mapped onto parameters of density and statistical distribution (random interonset and duration) of the “quanta” of sound, obtained in real-time from the audio input of the converter. For the Musical Signal Processing part I used the BEADS project library
  • This project has obtained the “MAKER of MERIT 2013,” at the Maker Faire Rome 3-6/10/2013.
  • Short paper: Micromondo Biohacking Art 
  • Electronic diagram of the simple driver: controllerMicro

For more details on Biohacking, Electronics, Programming and DSP:



  • It ‘was designed a system to automate the sound diffusion.
  • The idea is that when the user is close to structure a  IR barrier detect the movement and sends in play the mp3 files, but the current file may not stop until the end of the duration, even if the sensor detects a new movement.
  • For the Artist, it was built an Arduino based interfaces for driving an mp3 player that spreads the sound through an amplifier kit and speakers. The same Arduino sketch play different vocal file, in sequential order, every time that the sensor detects the passage.
  • All the system must be practical to use and compact, nestable in a wooden base and, with the connection of the sensors, hidden to view.
  • A simple sketch containing the function (build with ExportHtml for SublimeText2): remoteMp3VM202interface2
  • For need of plotting results of the non-linear functions iteration is convenient to write some classes Processing 2 compatible and specialized in plotting of  the mathematical functions.
  • The project that results is the set of classes and methods for graphs called “Graphic.pde” at the current Beta version v0.1.1, which includes useful methods for the plotting in 2D.
  • In particular the actual methods included in the project class 2D are: displayAxis(); addTicks(); gridOn(Boolean, Boolean); title(“grafico di f(x)”); xLabel(“x-axis”); yLabel(“y-axis”); setDomain(floatMin, floatMax); setCodomain(floatMin, floatMax); setNumAxis(int, int, int, int); updateType(“Cartesian”); [Rect, Axis, Half], resizable(float, float, float, float); verbose(); zoomX(float); zoomY(float);

Example of driver code: a graph of discrete sin and continuous cos

Graphic2D g1, g2;
void setup()
     size(displayWidth-400, displayHeight-200);
     g1 = new Graphic2D(170, 100, width/2, height/2, “Rect”); //Rect, Cartesian, Axis
     g2 = new Graphic2D(170, 100, 600, 350, “Cartesian”);
void draw()
    float y, g, f;
    SCREEN = get(0, 0, width, height);      //environment variable to image rendering as .png
    //g1.gridOn(true, true);
    g1.title(“grafico di f(x)”); g1.xLabel(“x-axis”); g1.yLabel(“y-axis”);
    g1.setDomain(-PI*2, PI*2);
    g1.setCodomain(-1, 1);
    g1.setNumAxis(1, 1, 1, 1);
    g1.resizable(170, 100, width-270, height-230);
    for (float x=g1.getMin(); x<g1.getMax(); x+=0.1) //set limit, step
        y=sin(x); //map(sin(x), 0, 1, -1, 1);
        g1.add(y, x, “o”, color(0, 0, 255));
    for (float x=g1.getMin(); x<g1.getMax(); x+=0.1)
       g1.add(g, x, “-”, color(255, 0, 0));
  • If the project has continuity, the next step is to improve and complete the functionality of plotting 2D graphs by adding a class for 3D plotting and define a complete documentation of all methods.
  • We present algorithmic application related to the Deterministic Chaos Theory and the context of Musical Signal Processing. The attention is directed to the study of filtered logistic maps ie the finite difference equation of the logistic function combined with first-order LTI systems. In particular, it investigates the sound and music possibilities of a particular class of iterated non-linear functions, usually used as dynamical systems models in biology and fractal theory.
  • It was written a SuperCollider and Pure Data programs for processing chaotic signals and visualization of the phase space of the logistic map in the discrete domain.
  • It was also written a special library for graphics in Processing 2 in the style of Matlab and Python Matplotlib, but this will be theme of a separate article.
  • A software simulation of the hardware device “Selezionatore d’ampiezza”, located on the first electronic sound generation system, invented by physicist A. Lietti (technical director of the RAI Phonology Studio in Milan until 1961) for the electroacoustic experimentation.


  • It was made a formal analysis of the “Scambi” (1957) composition of H. Pousseur where he uses a white noise generator in combination with amplitude selector and organizing, among other, the magnetic tape records through combinatorial processes.
  • It was created an interface in Processing language that gives the possibility to modify and display the parameters of the virtual selector. This panel communicates via OSC protocol (from Processing side libraries OscP5 and p5_sc) with the real-time algorithm of “samples selector” written in SuperCollider.
  • In the another SuperCollider graphical interface (Qt GUI) it is possible to change some not-philological parameters of the instrument.
  • Starting from the analysis of the original electronic circuit is proposed a new version of “Noise-Gate/Selector with Transistor and OPamp. The circuit was simulated in PSpice.


  • The interest for particular non-linear processes and affirmation according to which specific configurations of music can, in certain conditions, be attributed to interactions between irreducible unit of a dynamic system, has conducted to the realization of an electronic analog system for the experimentally verification of the chaos. More particularly it is a system based on classic Chua’s Circuits, for low frequency application. His compositional approach concerning to the evaluation of dynamic characteristics of the sounds of chaos: the turbulence phenomena and the pattern emerging from the phase space, towards a “road to chaos”. The chaotic synthesizer, in this first step, is based on a linear coupling of Chua circuits  for an experimentally verify the aspect of synchronization of complex dynamic systems.
  • The system was simulated in PSpice and was built an prototype for a first musical composition named “Experimentation on chaotic interactions – Part I”
  • As a development is provided the digital control of the analog system, through a digital interface in Arduino and a control software in Processing, for serial communication and GUI. The advantages are that the control parameters can be more accurate and can be created automation functions for a compositional score.
  • Building for the work “Piccolo Infinito” by Massimo Scamarcio and Neal Peruffo, in occasion of the event “Illuminazione” at the Palace of Arts of Naples (PAN).
  • The installation was prepared in an elevator covered with black panels. With light wood trying to lose perception of the delimitation of space, accompanied by the diffusion of reverberated sound. The recorded sound (noise of the movement of the elevator) is propagated through special speakers that vibrate the metal walls.



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