The Insectitron project started out as a prototyping exercise for something else before becoming it's own thing. The goal was to create a portable piece of art that generates musical notes. My early ideas centered around homemade instruments. Wind chimes were considered, then something like a flute, and later I played with the idea of building a kind of motorized hurdy-gurdy. I kept running into problems with either time, cost, or space. Eventually I looked into battery powered synthesizers and even bought a few electronic kits hoping I could hack something together, but lacked the necessary electronics know-how. Finally, I determined using portable cassette players with built-in external speakers would be the most direct route to my goal considering my budget.


3D bug animation

Construction was ad hoc. I didn't have a solid plan when I started but thought it might be helpful to draw the internal components in Blender and experiment with abstract shapes. Nothing I made was interesting until the shapes morphed into a low-poly insect. That was my eureka moment. I was going to make little techno-bugs. And what if the eyes had sound activated LEDs? Yes, of course they need those too.

I had no idea what materials I would use to make them. 3D printing would be too expensive since I don't own a printer (yet). So my first challenge was to get the design out of Blender and into my hands. This led me to a paper model plugin and then I decided that building some of the sculpture in paper mache would be fine. Once I got started it was simply a matter of solving problems as construction progressed. Surprisingly, the biggest problem was the color scheme. I enlisted help from my friend Alexandra who gave me choices and great feedback. It took a little over three months to make these "beatbox beetles" and they are super cool.


Right now these little guys play a version of "Spirit" from my slowwavesleep project. As I write new Insectitron songs I'll post them below.

a bug