Lara Grant Gives ‘Soft Synths’ New Meaning

Textile designer Lara Grant is giving ‘soft synths’ a new meaning.

This soft interface is made from metallic wools, Velostat (a resistive material), conductive fabrics, sheep’s wool and acrylic craft felt. It is connected to the circuit with snaps soldered to wires and alligator clips.

Technical Details:

The circuit is comprised of 2 oscillators using the 4093 IC, piped through a distortion filter built using the 4049 and then out through the 4040, a 12 stage binary counter, it has 12 outputs, each dividing the source by 2.

Four of the twelve outputs from the counter IC are taken onto the soft interface using snaps to wire and mixed using a felted patch cord of sheep and metallic wool.
One oscillator is controlled by a force sensing resistor made from Velostat and conductive fabric.

Oscillator number two is controlled by a felted sculptural potentiometer, one side of the spike is a needle felted bronze trace, the opposite side is Velostat. You connect the two through your body by wearing stretchy conductive fabric over the tips and touching both sides at once.

Your body naturally has a high resistance, so you mainly get slow oscillation and hear low tones.

Each of the two oscillators have a control pin, they turn on and off based on if that pin is set to high or low. Each oscillator’s outputs are feeding into the other’s control pin, so you can turn one off and on, by touching the other.

Grant, along with her sister Sarah Grant, will be teaching a session on Soft Circuitry and Synthesizers at New Interfaces for Musical Expression in Ann Arbor, MI on Sunday May 20th. See Grant’s site for details.


9 thoughts on “Lara Grant Gives ‘Soft Synths’ New Meaning

  1. I can’t believe I have a favorite part, but I really liked when she moved the wires around in the solderless breadboard to change the sound patch. She seems like the kind of woman who would sit down to watch “This Island Earth” with me, and we could debate which was a cooler movie, “This Island Earth” or “Forbidden Planet.”

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    • Oh, come on! “Forbidden Planet” by miles. Mind you, “This Island Earth” did predict the invention of the supercapacitor. On the other hand, it also featured a cat called “…Neutron, because he’s so positive.”

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  2. i wonder.. would i be asking too much for this technology to merge with bras… so i can combine my 2 passions… synths and groping my wife… imagine the epic filter sweeps/purple nurples

    doubt i could get her to wear it… but i’ve always been able to entertain myself :P so just make them in sizes like 42 A-

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  3. Hi all, I’m a electro vinyl collector and love electronic music. I’m also a keen burner and will be going to burning man again this year in black rock. I’m not real good with this kind of electronic stuff, but love the concept. I just can’t get my head around it. Would anybody like to sell me a working clothing synth for an outfit, I want to add it to make a costume for burning man? Cheap. 8) I was hoping to find an 808 synthesiser bedspread to sew up into a outfit, but not having any luck so far. Please email me if interested in my concept. danny@greenenvylandscapes.com.au thanks.

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