Noisebox: a connected music box

A friend came up with a brilliant hack during Hack Day Paris: the Noisebox. Last Christmas, I offered one to my girlfriend, watch the video:

Today, like many other, I listen my music digitally, I forgot about albums and cd players. And thanks to streaming services I can listen instantly to every track I want from any device. That’s great. But like me, don’t you miss the sensation of having a small physical collection that represents something for you? that you picked, that your friend can look at when they visit, that you can re-discover from time to time, that is truly yours ? CDs are just here for technical reasons. Let’s just stay with the idea of objects. That’s what the box is all about. It simply plays music associated to objects. And more than CDs, these objects can really be unique, personal and sentimental.

Pierre build the hardware and I developed the server using NodeJS and MongoDB. I hope we will find time to publish more documentation and do a proper release of the project.

The Noisebox and its associated objects


I’m not a huge fan of the Black Eyed Peas (I even think David Guetta killed the group), but while watching at the “Just Can’t Get Enough” video clip, I enjoyed the work on light and noticed for about one second (at 0:54) a very subtle shot:

This beautiful blur is called a bokeh. It appears when an out-of-focus point of light is captured by the camera. Some photographers like to play with it.

Usually, the light spots make discs on the picture, but here they are hearts. How come ?
Well, the shape of a bokeh is linked to the shape of the aperture of the camera. So I bet the photographer used an heart-shaped aperture in this shot.

Of course, this effect could be computer generated, a convolution between a heart and the image does the trick, but let’s believe it’s not a fake.

my camera and hand-carved business cards

I wanted to try it at home to see if anyone can do it, it appears that it’s pretty straightforward: just carve a heart in a card and put it in front of the camera. Then point some lights and manually set them out-of-focus. Results are pretty good.

Bokeh with an usual aperture
Same scene with a heart-shaped aperture