Mexican bacteriological experiment produces biology-driven music via a Raspberry Pi

A Mexican team of Paloma López, Leslie García, and Emmanuel Anguiano (together, they are known as Interspecifics) have created a nature-driven musical instrument. Micro-ritmos is an art installation in which ‘music’ is generated by patterns formed by bacterial cells. The material is called Geobacter, which is an anaerobic bacteria found in sediment. All the code for the experiment can be found here. The comments are in Spanish, but careful use of Google Translate can help there.

The hardware is based around a Raspberry Pi B+ and camera module with an Arduino. The music synthesis is done by SuperCollider. The bacteria triggers lights to be activated and variations in the cells produce patterns. The Python program ‘learns’ as the patterns are watched and that information is sent into the synthesizer. It’s live coding created by a biological process.

You can see a video of it in action above. The subtitles are in Spanish.

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