S C O T T P E T E R S E N ∞ E L M U C O ∞ S C A C I N T O . C O M

homepage for scott eric petersen, el muco, and all things electronic

Glossary

Glossary of terms often found on the pages of this site
This page will be updated often.

Algorithm: an algorithm is a general rule set (finite) that is used to solve a particular problem.  An algorithm is best when it solves one problem and it does so efficiently, using the smallest number of instructions required to perform its task.

Arduino: [taken from the site] Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

bend: an adjustment made to an existing circuit that alters it in a way audibly perceptible (and awesome.) or that causes functional change (flow of charge, etc.) [WARNING] NEVER attempt to bend an instrument that is plugged into the wall:  AC + metal + you = death.

distortion: distortion may be defined many ways depending on the signal that is being distorted.  Very generally, distortion is the addition of noise to a signal.  Here, noise is defined as anything that is not part of the signal when running under standard conditions.  In other words, distortion occurs when something causes some part of the signal (amplitude, voltage, etc.) to exceed the ability of the conductive medium (component parts, amplifier, speaker) to represent the signal accurately.

hardware hacking/HH/circuit bending: using any means to modify an existing electronic product to create new functionality, either in the motor/physical or sonic domains.

LED: a light emitting diode.  LEDs are in just about every piece of electronics.  Mostly used to let you know if your electronic device is on, they can also be useful for testing circuits.

lick-n-stick: to wet one’s finger with ones saliva (!) and apply it to the circuit in an effort to sniff out bends.  Very useful when attempting to locate the timing circuit; when pitch goes up, you’re on the right track.  [WARNING] as noted ALL OVER the internet and in books, one should never attempt to bend a toy that is plugged into the wall!  AC = death, esp. when you are touching it with your spitty finger.

potentiometer: a variable resistor with a third adjustable terminal. The potential at the third terminal can be adjusted to give any fraction of the potential across the ends of the resistor.

resistor: A resistor is a two-terminal electronic component that produces a voltage across its terminals that is proportional to the electric current passing through it in accordance with Ohm’s law: V = IR

sniff out: to look for bends.

SuperCollider: SuperCollider is an audio/visual programming language.  [BIAS] It is vastly superior to all other audio synthesis languages ever written.

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Handmade instruments by Scott Petersen and Brian Kane at Artspace New Haven

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