the search for silence

Last week I kept getting angry at the mere presence of more than five people and the constant noise around me. So much so in fact that one of the first ideas for this project I came up with was making what is essentially a punching bag to vent my frustrations on, with the matrix recording the level of my anger. But as I brainstormed over the course of several days, I realized what I was looking for was a sort of tranquility and its unattainable nature. I ended up sketching a fiction where I would travel while carrying around a haphazardly constructed measuring box that could indicate if the location is completely silent/tranquil. In the measuring system of tranquility, the numbers would range from -10 to 0, -10 being the least tranquil and 0 being the complete silence.


I had followed the extremely well-documented steps by Amanda Ghassaei to create the sound input device, which surprisingly was not trivial as Golan explained to me. I realized belatedly that for my purposes of recognizing “sound” and not “sound pressure,” it would’ve been better to buy a shield instead (and Paolo Pedercini told me after I had assembled the circuit that the ArtFab had recently stocked up on microphone sound detection sensors). But I also realized afterwards that this was fine because it fits the narrative of “some person randomly decides to put together a ghetto box, whatever.”



(thanks to my roommate for the shoebox!)

The code is exceedingly simple:

#include Wire.h //y'all know what this is really supposed to be
#include "Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h"
#include "Adafruit_GFX.h"

Adafruit_7segment matrix = Adafruit_7segment();

int incomingAudio;

void setup(){

void loop(){
  incomingAudio = analogRead(A0);
  int adjusted = map(incomingAudio,400,1024, 0,11);
  adjusted = adjusted*-1;
  matrix.print(adjusted, DEC);

And here’s the Fritzing diagram (though really, Amanda Ghassaei has better circuit diagrams):

Untitled Sketch_bb