Talkoo workshop BLOG

Talkoo at NordiCHI 2008

October 24th, 2008

Dries De Roeck, researcher at the Centre for Usability Research (CUO), IBBT/K.U. Leuven and participant of the Talkoo workshop, will present his project submitted into a paper “Exploring interactive hardware prototyping” at NordiCHI 2008 (Sweden) during a workshop on Haptic Lo-Fi Prototyping.

Here is the abstract of his paper:
“This paper explores the way the concept of hardware and physical prototyping can be used as an addition or extension to “traditional” prototyping methods used in HCI research. Physical prototyping
allows creating interactive hardware prototypes that are tangible but make use of digital information. This approach appears to be a next step in standard prototyping tools that can be used in research, but is also an opportunity with regard to the “everyday user”. From both viewpoints, there are however limitations to the existing platforms. These possibilities and limitations are explored by a small case study involving the Arduino platform to create musical instruments. “


Talkoo video’s

August 5th, 2008

For the one’s who missed the Talkoo workshop and its final invasion of Brussels city, here are some video’s.

The Talkoo invasion

Talkoo at the Walvis

Talkoo: the making of!

The Talkoo codes!

June 24th, 2008

We have now gathered some open source codes ( made during the workshop, that you can use for yourself (thanks to David Cuartielles for the codes and Jimi Hertz for the sound files).

Here are the codes and sound files made by the participants:

By Reinaart Vanhoe:

By Dries De Roeck:

By Tom Heene:

You can also check the slides of the workshop in David’s post: Talkoonizing instruments.

Concerning new pics of the workshop, have a look at David’s photos on his Flickr! He has also posted a summary of the workshop with interesting links on his wOki.

While waiting for our video documentation, you can watch Dries video of Tom’s instrument on YouTube!



photo by D. Cuartielles

Talkoo invasion: the report

June 10th, 2008


The Talkoo invasion

So we made it! After a bit of stress to get on time at our meeting at the Walvis, the talkoonization of Brussels city has started. During our short presentation in the bar, the waitress became quite unexpectedly nervous, so we had to run off in order to preserve our favourite canteen…

Then, we took Dansaert street until St-Gerry - St-Goriks for an improvised jam session with the cello player inside the ancient market. After some interaction with the public, we took the direction of the tram at the Bourse-Beurs for an underground presentation. We decided then to have a look at the famous Belgian opera, La Monnaie - De Munt, in order to hear how could our instruments sound like in the temple of classical music.

Afterwards, we continued our touristic visit, passing by the Gallerie de la Reine - Koningsgallerij, where we played in the Tropismes library for the happiness of Sunday books readers; the Grand Place - Grote Markt, for tourists amazement; and the Mannekepis, for the good of chocolate and snails business.

Of course, after a few hours of working, our electronic instruments started to present some defaults or battery problems, but we can say that this mission was a success. The city has been Talkoonized!

Check all our pics here! Also from Dries!

The Talkoo’s instruments

The sound devices that have been build during this workshop week are all standalone. It means that they work as independent objects without having to be connected to a computer (wireless or not).

The sound files and the interactive aspects have been programmed in the Arduino software and uploaded to the board which contains then the software part. The interaction with the sound file(s) can then be made with potentiometers, photoresistors, buttons, piezo’s, infra-red sensors, accelerometers, lemons (oscillator)…

To get the sound files we wanted into the Arduino board, we converted the .wav into a 1-bit file that can also be uploaded on the board. Here, you will find some examples of our creations:

Tom’s instrument:


Rudi’s electronic bat:


Stephane’s sound lunch boxes:


Sofian’s rain call box:


Dries’s instrument:


Luca’s sound bucket:


Reinaart’s portative chinese sound lunch table:


Jimi’s magic sound ball:


Samuel’s lemon guitar:


Nathalie’s sound cloth:


The Talkoo invasion!

June 7th, 2008

This Sunday 8th of June, Brussels city will be talkoonized by a invasion of sound electronic objects! In pubs, streets, metro, this intervention will even join Mannekenpis for a collective jam session!

Meeting point at the Walvis (you know, this trendy pub at the end of Dansaert street, facing the canal…) at 16:00, then follow the Talkoo team for an electrifying Sunday afternoon!




Talkoo workshop participants

June 6th, 2008

Sofian Audry, computer science, interactive media, Canada

Luca Bertini, media artist, Italy

Dries De Roeck, Human Computer Interaction researcher at the Centre for Usability Research (CUO), IBBT/K.U. Leuven, Belgium

Nathalie Fougeras, media artist, France

Rudi Giot, engineer in computer science, Belgium

Tom Heene, media artist, Belgium

Jimi Hertz, sound artist, performer, music producer, event promoter, (radio) DJ, France

Stéphane Noel, bidouilleur, digital art teacher, Belgium

Samuel St-Aubin, Electronics and Telecommunications, electronic and sound art projects, Canada

Reinaart Vanhoe, visual artist, experimental film maker, teacher, Nederlands

Talkoonizing Instruments

June 6th, 2008

During the last two days here in Brussels (BXL, they say) we have been going through the basics of using Arduino boards in the production of prototypes: digital and analog signals, serial communication, and sound production, a lot of sound production. We have looked briefly in using Puredata and Processing as tools on the computer side. Some of the participants, who master MAX/MSP, have also succeeded in connecting the board to that software.

The workshop is quite open for possibilities, so we are not sure yet if we will design small music instruments, or gigantic embodied installation art. However it is worth to take a look at the contents we have been looking into, so far and where to get resources and documentation.

Wednesday, June 4th:

This is the day of the arrival. Most of the participants made it to the workshop today, we had an introduction to what is Arduino as a tool and as a community of makers. We saw some examples of standalone objects made with Arduino and made some basic serial communication. Even someone managed to fill up a cup of virtual Darjeeling using an LDR and the classic 3D teapot example in Puredata’s GEM library.

  • Basic Introduction to Arduino’s prototyping platform, get the slideshow here, get the movies/documentation for: randomSnooze, link to the artist that made waves
  • Examples in I/O: digital I/O, analog inputs, serial communication
  • Programming as talking technique, variable definitions, program structure, etc
  • Brief introduction to Puredata, talk about the differences between Vanilla and Extended version, explanation of the comport object to connect to Arduino the easiest way possible

Thursday, June 5th:

This day was a truly long one. We looked into low-Fi (1-bit) sound production techniques out of piezo buzzers, revised Puredata and attacked Processing. We created a small tone player, a melody player, and a drum-bit kit. Late at night Jimi Hertz (what a great name) and me cracked into the secrets of 8-bit 8000Hz playing from Arduino.

  • Basic tone playing, adding duration to make notes, playing melodies
  • Hacking the melody maker into a drum-bit kit
  • Introduction to Processing and its communication to Arduino
  • References from: Tristan Perich for 1-bit music, Michael Smith for Arduino PCM Audio
  • Slides here

‘Talkoo Technics’ categorie

June 5th, 2008


‘Talkoo Technics’ is the categorie where David can/will post code, diagrams, technical documentation, … Participants can then put examples, modified code, questions, … as comments.

iMAL’s urban environment

May 23rd, 2008

In order to give you some inspiration, here is a presentation of the area around iMAL where the workshop will take place.

The office and exhibition place are located in an old factory, up to a tyre reseller, along the canal of Brussels decorated with small colored windmills that we could use. On the other side of the canal, next to the bridge, there is a large crossroad, with the end of the ‘rue Antoine Dansaert’, one of the trendiest street of Brussels. On the corner of this street, you will see a nice pub, de Walvis, with just in front a great ‘audiovisual grocery’, Le Bonheur. These 2 friends agree that we do electronic intervention in their venue, placing small smart objects,…

Here are some pics:


iMAL’s building


The canal just in front of iMAL with its colored windmills.


The bridge, a cross-road between the trendy neighborhood of Dansaert and the North-African area of Molenbeek shows a nice mix of cultures.


The terrace of de Walvis.


The audiovisual grocery of Le Bonheur.