ACDU  Autonomous Cosmic-ray Detecting Ukelele

University of Washington Physics Instructor (and my former Ballard High School student Jay Howard) is leading a group of UW-Bothell physics students to build a South-Pole bound "robot" that reads radiation and environmental sensors, and frets and plays a ukelele.

We will of course list the student contributors by name as soon as Jay gives me their names and photos...:)

We thought up this project because the science is pretty well covered already. PolarTrec teacher and pal Kate Miller, for example, did a YouTube "Tour of the South Pole Station" that's getting up towards a million views. No need to make another one of those...

One of the things I've been able to do over the course of my many decades in education is to find projects to unite ART & SCIENCE.

I play the ukelele, and have done environmental sensing, and the gears started turning, and, voila!

One of the aspects of this project that I'm really excited about is that we're going to make our Raspberry Pi code(s) open source and available to anybody who would might like to modify them. I think I'll be able to upload them to ACDU at the Pole and play music from, well, anywhere.

It's been a super-interesting project already. What data will we get from sensors? Kind of random. Does that directly cause notes to be played? That would be kind of random (although some of us like that kind of music, too, especially the thought "I'm hearing raw data") More probably, the sensor data is used to modify an existing chord structure or song in the code. It's an interesting problem, and we hope to get some worldwide contributors that add to the community.

Stay tuned!