BIOTA BEATS

Biota Beats is a microbial record player that translates bacterial growth into sound.

Historically music has been experienced and stored in a variety of forms. Take the vinyl record for example - where sound is represented by small engravings scribbed onto a material. These engravings are static representations. Utilizing biology, we can create a new medium for music - enabling us to experience a record that grows and evolves over time.

 

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Like a DJ spinning vinyl records, each biota record with colonies grown, represents a snapshot and state that can be sonified into a musical track. A Biota-DJ can swap each record out to play a new track  

Like a DJ spinning vinyl records, each biota record with colonies grown, represents a snapshot and state that can be sonified into a musical track. A Biota-DJ can swap each record out to play a new track

 

Similar to the way you can cut, paste and remix DNA using recombinant dna technology, Sequencing involves a software which allows a biota DJ to Cut, paste and remix different parts of a records to create a new composition.   

Similar to the way you can cut, paste and remix DNA using recombinant dna technology, Sequencing involves a software which allows a biota DJ to Cut, paste and remix different parts of a records to create a new composition. 

 

Scratching enables a performer to sonify microbes in realitime by spinning the record, moving the ‘needle’ or using a mixer to manipulate the sound. Exploring these different modes of interaction will be the focus of our future work.  

Scratching enables a performer to sonify microbes in realitime by spinning the record, moving the ‘needle’ or using a mixer to manipulate the sound. Exploring these different modes of interaction will be the focus of our future work.

 

Incubate enables you to grow a new record.  By plating the record, enabling it to grow over time.  

Incubate enables you to grow a new record.  By plating the record, enabling it to grow over time.

 

This introduces a time dimension to sonification. The previous examples shown sonifies a snapshot and state of the plate. In the incubation example, we can sonify the growth over time.  

This introduces a time dimension to sonification. The previous examples shown sonifies a snapshot and state of the plate. In the incubation example, we can sonify the growth over time.

 

Hardware

The incubator is designed to be retrofitted onto an existing record player. Since our goal is to represent the growth of cultures through audio, the design criteria required:

  • Detection: Visually detect the growth of an entire petri dish (the size of a vinyl record) using a camera without occlusions
  • Compatibility: Ensure the heat generation from the incubation will not degrade the enclosure and produce unwanted molecules/gas
  • Accessible: Easily change out by-hand the culture plates; easily monitor the plates
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Wetware

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Our custom biota-records were fabricated and distributed at a workshop held at Gingko Bioworks, as part of the Youth Science Initiative.

Our custom biota-records were fabricated and distributed at a workshop held at Gingko Bioworks, as part of the Youth Science Initiative.

 

Software

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A demo of the sonification implementation can be viewed at http://biotabeats.com/visualization.html

A demo of the sonification implementation can be viewed at http://biotabeats.com/visualization.html

Team: Yixiao Jiang, Eric Vanwyk, Alex Guo, Thrasyvoulos Karydis, Keerthi Shetty, Shannon Johnson, Matt Mendoza, Mary Maggic, Ani Liu, David Kong